Conspiracy theories are usually thought of as paranoid delusions, ranging from fake moon landings to the shadowy illuminati. However, in recent years we have seen conspiratorial ideas merge with mainstream political concerns on topics such as immigration, climate change and elections.

In this report, we dig deeper into conspiracy theories as not merely a problem of our online information ecosystems, but a phenomenon which flourishes in the context of broader deficits and structural drivers in our political, economic, and media environments.

We examine the impacts of what we call the ‘conspiracy loop’ – a self-perpetuating feedback loop in which conspiracy theories are generated and disseminated – and the role political actors play in amplifying and weaponising these narratives into ‘culture wars’.