Disinformation-for-Hire as Everyday Digital Labor: Introduction to the Special Issue

Grohmann, Rafael; Corpus Ong, Jonathan
Social Media + Society

This introduction for the special issue “Disinformation-for-Hire as Everyday Digital Labor” carves out a specific area of inquiry within the ever-growing field of disinformation studies, with its sharp focus on the commercial transactions, organizational logics, and entrepreneurial practices that propel the production of disinformation. Inspired by traditions of political economy, media production studies, and everyday life approaches, this framework draws analytical focus to (1) the slow-burn horror of disinformation as everyday digital labor; (2) the diverse industries and workers engaged in disinformation production; and (3) regulatory areas beyond social media content policy and platform-centric accountability—especially relevant in the Global Majority context. Furthermore, this essay discusses how digital labor studies need to engage more directly with the ways disinformation thrives in the gray in-betweens of formal/informal and licit/illicit digital economies. The essays in our collection mobilize “disinformation-for-hire” as a valuable analytical frame that lays bare disinformation as a product of commercial and political complicities in the late capitalist arrangement of transnational digital industries.