The Digital Impact on the Covid-19 News Image: A Thesis on How the News Image on Covid-19 is Affected by the Digitalization of News, Facebooks Algorithms and the Digital Public

Louise Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The year 2020 was a special one where we all experienced new restrictions to our daily life. The news on Covid-19 has infiltrated our everyday life especially since people are using social media to access the news. The digitalization of news and Facebooks algorithms must then influence what kind of news about Covid-19 we see on Facebook. Theory suggests that the public sphere is centered around social media platforms where we are forming our opinions of the society we live in. That is why this thesis will investigate how the digitalization of news and Facebooks algorithms are affecting the news image regarding Covid-19 and what consequence this impact have on the formation of the public’s opinion.
The thesis will focus on three topics that together can tell us how the news image of Covid-19 is affected. These tree components are: the digitalization of news, Facebooks algorithms and the formation of the public ́s opinion. The research is based on qualitative methods and includes virtual ethnography of three different news media ́s Facebook pages to gather information about how news about Covid-19 is being handled by the media and the public. The gathered material is centered around three topics related to news about Covid-19: hamstring, economy and conspiracy theory. The research also includes quantitative data from three reports on news consumption and general opinions about the news media and social media.
The thesis results showed that different tendencies related to the digitalization of news such as profit, clickbait, rhetoric and user participation influences the Covid-19 news image. The Facebooks algorithms further enhance this, since especially engagement controls what we are being showed in our personalized newsfeed. The tendency is that we more often see soft news then hard news. These tendencies affects the formation of the public because we see individualized discourses that makes it difficult for the public to discuss information about Covid-19together.This also means that Facebook have a responsibility as a platform that hosts information. This thesis contributes to the research field by giving and understanding of how the public ́s opinion about Covid-19 is affected by the digitalization of news and Facebook ́s algorithms.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages102