Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Visual Fake News Images

Cite this article as: Babi, B.A. (2023). Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Visual Fake News Images. Zamfara International Journal of Humanities, (2)2, 24-35. www.doi.org/10.36349/zamijoh.2023.v02i02.003.

Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Visual Fake News Images


Bello Alim Babi
0803 947 0634
Adamawa State Polytechnic, Yola


Social media is a powerful source of information. The spread of fake news on social media has both immediate and long-term effects on its users, who may be reluctant to share and post genuine news for fear that it, will be misrepresented. This study examines five visual fake news images that were selected for investigation from a variety of social media sources. Multimodal discourse analysis theories are used to evaluate fake news photographs and explain their meaning potential by using the three semiotic functions of - representational, interactional, and compositional. The most essential goals of the fake news image are to invite cooperation and persuasion in the social relationships between the personalities and the viewers. The use of news captions, positive language, questions, and short phrases are the main features of the analyzed fake news discovered.

Keywords: Multimodal, Discourse, Fake News, Three Meta-functions

1.0 Introduction

The ability to utilize visuals to undermine the text's point of view and words to undermine the image's authenticity gives multimodal presentations an intrinsic critical potential. Nonverbal components, such as visual images, are largely disregarded when utilizing language even though they always come after the verbal ones. It must be understood that the language user will be successful in conveying the full meaning of a discourse by combining both verbal and non-verbal aspects that are useful in social circumstances. Understanding language from a single point of view is known as mono-modal comprehension, whereas understanding text from multiple points of view is known as multimodal comprehension. The study of language in isolation is extended to the study of language in combination with other resources, such as images, scientific symbolism, gesture, action, music, and sound. Multimodal discourse analysis, which integrates discourse and technology, is emerging as a paradigm in discourse studies. An example of a discourse that combines different modes to produce a single artifact is said to be a news item (Sinar 2012).

The term "multimodality" was initially used by Halliday at the Sydney School of Semiotics to describe the types of analysis that might be used to determine the meanings of words and things using semiotics. Moreover, multimodality has its roots in the Prague School, which started as a linguistics-focused institution but gradually expanded to include art and theatre. Also, the same techniques from linguists were used by various researchers to analyze clothes in antique paintings and photographs as a source of information for a person's status, age, and religion as well as for the time or event, settings, gestures, or actions (van Leeuwen, 2015). According to van Leeuwen, multimodality refers to the discourse which implies other features of communication apart from spoken discourse such as "voice, gestures, facial expressions or components of self-presentation". Multimodality refers to semiotic analysis techniques that imply semiotic modes for interpretation, such as image, sound, and language, developed alongside technology.

McGonagle (2017) defines fake news as information that has been purposefully created and circulated to deceive and persuade others to believe lies or dispute uncertain facts. False information, sometimes known as fake news, is any content that is willfully false and can be independently verified with the potential to deceive readers. Fake news is frequently written and published to mislead readers to harm a company, organization, or individual and/or to profit financially or politically. To attract more readers, sensational, dishonest, or outright invented headlines are frequently used (Alawode, Olorede and Azeez, 2008).

 The internet has turned into an excellent source of news and information, but regrettably not all of it can be trusted. Fake and twisted news sources have existed since the invention of the printing press. Social media is the platform where news spreads the fastest, according to a survey published on October 15, 2018, by a US-based organization the PEW Research Center. Social media has a larger propensity to do so on multiple platforms, more than 50% of respondents believe that social media is to blame for the spread of fake news.

The analysis of fake news by academics has been attempted repeatedly utilizing a variety of extra linguistic tools. However, research on fake news has not paid much attention to multimodal analysis. To comprehend how language, symbols, images, and photographs relate to social media fake news, a multimodal study is necessary. The federal government has attempted to stop the transmission of false information, particularly on social media, in several ways, but these efforts have been ineffectual. The establishment of a robust censorship board that controls the usage of all social media platforms is necessary for the government to reinforce its efforts to halt the spread of fake news, which is a threat to national security.

2. Aim and Objectives

This study aims to investigate the various multimodal patterns used in the selected fake news visuals, using Multimodal Discourse Analysis as the theoretical foundation. The following are the aims of this research:

i.        To examine how language and various multimodal formats are used on social media to draw people's interest.

ii.      To examine how fake news images are presented on social media as a means of persuading users to believe them.

iii.   To highlight the importance of multimodal discussion analysis in spotting real and bogus images on social media.

3. Literature Review

A growing number of individuals utilize the internet to keep informed and share millions of posts, articles and videos on websites and social media platforms such as; Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Fake news is now a common occurrence in our daily digital lives as a result of the social media platforms' quick uptake. Social media's incapacity to check the veracity of a news item is partly to blame for the dissemination of false information. Sharing expertly edited photographs and films that appear to be real is now simple. It is widely acknowledged that false information has a substantial impact on public opinion and debate (Schwartz 2015).

The spread of fake news on social media has both immediate and long-term effects on its users, who may be reluctant to share and post genuine news for fear that it will be misrepresented. This is because fake news spreads primarily through disinformation and misinformation on social media, which are two major ways in which it is spread. According to Alina, CCuzzocrea A., & Truta, T. M. (2017), the term "misinformation" refers to people who spread false information without realizing it is false, typically just because they observe their friends or other people doing it. The social media system is made of an algorithm that recommends specific news or information to a consumer based on the group to which he or she belongs on social media, their prior history, and their circle of friends, such that when a friend views something, another friend is recommended the same thing, and it will notify the user that such content has been viewed or liked by his or her friends which will motivate such an indulging behaviour. The echo chamber effect significantly contributes to this aspect.

Without adequate verification, those who share the same beliefs or belong to the same political party will disseminate and exchange material that is favourable to their political goals. According to the cognitive theories of Kai & Huan, (2019), people are generally bad at telling what is real and what is authentic, and they are more susceptible to fake news because they are naturally gullible. Kai and Huan, (2019) also stated that, people often tend to trust things that support their beliefs (confirmation bias), will disseminate these things without checking them, and will misinterpret facts that do not support their beliefs—even if they are true.

Disinformation is the practice of disseminating false information while being aware of its falsity for either political or financial advantage. The use of social bots and trolls exacerbates this issue further (malicious accounts). Potential sources of bogus news on social media include social bots and trolls. An online algorithm that communicates in human form is referred to as a "social bot" in this context. Social bots were first developed by some businesses to answer client requests, but some malevolent people have exploited them to disseminate false information. A social bot may quickly publish a message on Facebook and swiftly re-tweet and follow thousands of accounts on Twitter (Dickerson et al, 2014).

It might be difficult for regular news readers and social media users to know which news sources to believe. The majority of news stories' veracity is questionable, misleading readers and consumers. According to studies on the confusion caused by fake news, 61% of men think that it greatly confuses people. The majority of the women, 68%, think that fake news can cause havoc. Fake news, in the opinion of 67% of adults in the 18 to 29 age range, is dangerous to society. Fake news, according to 58% of individuals over 65, might have a significant impact on society.

A technique called multimodal analysis looks at a variety of communication modalities, such as text, colour, and images. It is a method for discursive analysis that takes into account both how each mode communicates and how other modes interact to form semiotic meaning. Incorporating writing, an image, and colour into one sign offers observable benefits, claims Kress (2010). Each mode performs a specific function, such as writing names that would be difficult to display or presenting long-to-read graphics. Colour is utilized to highlight specific elements of the overall message. Therefore, examining multiple modes at once leads to a more comprehensive and nuanced investigation, especially when taking into consideration online circumstances.

Multimodal Metaphor, a study of multimodal discourse from a cognitive perspective, published in the middle of the 1990s, raised awareness of multimodal discourse. In Systematic Functional Linguistics by Halliday, Forceville claims that "all discourse elements are persuasive in nature as they aim at sorting of cognitive, emotional, or aesthetic consequences" (or all three together and typically coupled and establish verbal and mechanical communication). This theory emphasizes the perceptive nature of semiotic resources while ignoring the natural ones that are physically generated by and through the continual need to explain the changing language, especially in the modern digital environment. With this viewpoint in mind, academics like Van Leeuwen and Kress created the multimodal discourse analysis trademark in their works.

Kress and Van Leeuwen, (2006) have an approach for analyzing how multimodal resources, particularly texts, interact to create potential meanings. They both introduced what they called the "grammar of visual design" to describe how depicted fragments in texts are combined to generate cohesive wholes. The writers made a strong case for how "the visual component of a text is an independently ordered and structured message, connected to the vocal text but in no way dependent on it—and similarly the other way around.

The theoretical underpinnings of the "Grammar of Visual Design" are found in Halliday's functional grammar. According to Halliday (1994), language has three metafunctions: ideational, interpersonal, and textual. The use of language to convey a person's experience of the outside world is known as the metafunction of language, often referred to as the experiential function of language. It also looks at the functional elements of participant, process, and context. Ideational metafunction, in the words of Halliday (1985), is "the meaning in the sense of "content". To understand how visual elements "represent objects and their relations in a world".

Interpersonal metafunction, according to Halliday (1994), illustrates how language is employed to encode interaction. There is a relationship between the speaker and the listener when two people are speaking. It is also shown that there are interacting differences between people who share information or objects and people who engage in demanding or offering interactions (Butt et al., 2000). After this, the visual grammar framework claims that "any semiotic mode has to be able to project the relations between the producer of a (complex) sign and the receiver/reproducer of that sign. Any mode must show a certain social connection between the creator, the observer, and the thing depicted, according to Kress & Van Leeuwen (2006).

The textual metafunction is that aspect of the meaning potential that distinguishes a text from being just a collection of sentences or clauses. Thus, it involves phenomena like coherence, information structure, and theme structure. The blending of linguistic components into a coherent whole or text is referred to as the textual metafunction. This was emphasized by Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) who stated that "any semiotic mode has to be able to form texts, complexes of signs that are coherent both internally with each other and externally with the context in and for which they were produced."

 Representational Semiotic Function

The depicted objects in the text—such as bodies, limbs, and tools create a vector or line that forms the framework for the story-telling. It can be produced by the represented individual gaze or eye contact. The existence of a vector, according to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006), results in narratives that depict the text's sequences and changes in the various processes. The participant who generates vectors is the actor, and the participant who receives them is the goal. In this case, a narrative with action is produced. An eyeliner or gaze that creates a vector produces a reactionary tale. Here, the goal transforms into a phenomenon, and the actor takes on the role of the reactor. Action and reaction processes can be either transactional or non-transactional. In the conceptual process, there is no vector involved, and participants are represented in terms of their "more generalized and less stable and timeless essence, in terms of class, structure, or meaning" (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2006). In other words, "conceptual processes are concerned with the representation of ideas in images where participants can be analyzed, classified, or defined" (Ly & Jung, 2015). Examples of such images include charts, tree structures, and scientific diagrams.

 Interactional Semiotic Function

The interactional semiotic function considers how participants (both interactive and represented) are related to images in text, much like Halliday's interpersonal function of language. The analysis considers the social meaning that image-makers have structured and coded using different semiotic resources (such as gaze, distance, and angle). The narrative will be interpreted by the readers, who will then fictitiously link to the characters being depicted and/or the interactive participants.

The identification of semiotic resources like gaze, social distance, and angle serves as the starting point for an interactional analysis of a text. Even on a hypothetical level, the gaze creates touch or a false social connection with the spectator. When participants glance at the viewers or not, there is a fundamental difference that is established, according to Kress & Van Leeuwen (2006). When depicted participants gaze at the viewers, a request for an image act is made. Producers employ this image act when they want something from the audience. The manner of the relationship being formed is determined by the motions and facial expressions of the persons who are being portrayed. A seductive pout can indicate that viewers are being asked to develop desire for the participants, a smile can indicate that viewers are being asked to engage in a social affinity relationship, a cold-eyed stare can indicate that viewers are being asked to relate with the participants, a hand gesture pointing in the direction of the viewer can indicate that participants want the viewer to get closer, and a defensive gesture can indicate "Stay away from me" Kress & Van Leeuwen, (2006). On the other hand, an offer is given when depicted participants in texts are not looking directly at the readers. As a result, spectators are changed into "invisible onlookers" who inspect the participants like "specimens in display case".

In addition to the connection created by gazes, distance also contributes to the development of participant engagement. This concerns the degree to which viewers are invested in the participants who are portrayed, and it establishes a casual relationship of physical proximity in everyday interaction. Horakik, (2015), Kress & Van Leeuwen (2006) identified the following categories of distance by Hall (1966): intimate distance, close personal distance, or the distance at which "one can hold or grasp the other person," far personal distance, or the distance that "extends from a point that is just outside easy touching distance by one person to a point where two people can touch fingers if they both extend their arms"; close social distance, defined as the "distance at which impersonal business occurs," long social distance, defined as the "distance at which business and social interaction has a more formal and impersonal character," and public distance, defined as the "distance between people who are to remain strangers," are the three types of social distance. It can be assumed that a more intimate bond develops closer to the people who are being portrayed to the observer.

The angle or perspective is another tool that establishes the connection between the participants and the audience. Applying angles to images enables viewers to form individualized opinions about the participants being depicted. The two sorts of angles that Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) considered were horizontal and vertical. The players are positioned as parallel, aligned, or separated from one another by the horizontal angle, which emphasizes either involvement or separation. An oblique horizontal angle indicates detachment, whereas a frontal horizontal angle indicates involvement. The vertical angle also reveals how participants' positions of power are distributed. According to Martin (1968), a high angle indicates that the subject is subordinate or unimportant, whereas a low angle indicates that the subject is superior or exalted and triumphant. When the angle is established at eye level and equality is proposed, there is no power relationship present.

Lastly, the interactional aspect of the multimodal text is also influenced by the text's modality. In visual communication, the term "modality" refers to the level of realism in the world representation. Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) underline that defining realism depends on what is deemed genuine based on some established criteria and its expression based on the “correct”, the best, the (most) "natural" way to reflect reality. Therefore, according to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006), the modality judgments are "socially dependent on what is considered real (or true, or sacred) in the social group for which the representation is primarily intended". To achieve high modality in text, image makers must take into consideration the following crucial components: colour, which can be expressed through saturation, differentiation, and modulation; contextualization or the expression of abstract; representation or the representation of pictorial detail; depth or perspective; illumination or the play of light; and brightness, or the lightness or darkness of the colour.

Compositional Semiotic Function

The compositional semiotic function is connected to the textual function that Halliday describes. It links the representational and interactive meanings of images through the systems of information value, salience, and framing. Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) emphasized that the positioning of things (such as images and texts) bestows them with a certain information value depending on the various zones like left and right, top and bottom, and centre and margin. In a left and right structure, given information is located in the left zone, whereas new information is located in the right zone. If viewers are already aware of something, new information is provided; otherwise, unknown information is presented.

On the other hand, the top and bottom structure, where the top is ideal and the bottom is genuine, indicates what information is real and ideal. In contrast to the real, specific, or useful, ideal information includes the information's core or most important component. Additionally, the information's core components are those that are found in the centre, while those in the margins are auxiliary and reliant. "Salience" is another instrument for assessing the compositional function of the text. Image makers decide which features should have more salience to attract viewers' attention based on aspects including their placement in the foreground or background, relative size, and colour contrast, among others. The last consideration is framing, which is the way that objects are linked and separated by imaginary or real frame lines (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2006).

It might be difficult for regular news readers and social media users to know which news sources to believe. The majority of news stories' veracity is questionable, misleading readers and consumers. More research demonstrates how the interaction of numerous semiotic resources contributes to the construction of intended meanings at different levels, as revealed in (Bedi, 2019). Since images are used to spread false information in society, which has led to violence and misperceptions about or disliking governmental policies, the researcher believes it is appropriate to investigate fake news on social media handles.

4. Procedure

By developing the multimodal analysis paradigm offered by the 2004 work of Kress & Leeuwen, this study assesses fake news photographs. Multimodal analysis is used to investigate communication in today's multimedia world. The Kress and Leeuwen-developed social semiotic approach is based on Halliday's social semiotic theory. Every semiotic system should assess the social connection between the speaker and the receiver; claim to Guo & Feng (2017) in Kress & Leeuwen's (2004) theory of visual grammar. Kress and Leeuwen, in their collaborative work "Reading Images - The Grammar of Visual Design," devised a visual social semiotic approach based on Halliday's systemic-functional linguistics to characterize the meanings created by images combined with their words.

Five visual fake news stories that were chosen for study in this research from a variety of social media sites are evaluated using multimodal discourse analysis theories @afro_Debbie, #tweetLikeABuharist, WTOE5NEWS.COM, and 9aijaloop.com, were analyzed and examined as social media sources after the researcher randomly chose the samples. The three linguistic Meta functions identified by Kress and Leeuwen (1996) served as a guide in the selection and analysis of each sample by the researcher.

5. Data Presentation & Analysis

In this section, the selected fake news items have a variety of hidden meanings in their photographs, colours, layouts, written words, etc. Because visual elements are more powerful than merely verbal ones, an image can convey a wide range of information and even serve as the focal point of attention. As a result, an image can communicate a message much more effectively than words alone (Olowu and Akinkurolere, 2015).

Datum 1

This datum has the image of a man carrying a lady clad in a blood-stained Nigerian flag. Drawing on the work of Van Leeuwen (1996) and Machin and van Leeuwen (2005), the categories of visual participants in this datum have one image of two people which is technically known as a dyad image. This is because in visual composition, according to Machin (2007), a dyad image is realized by shots that show two people. The image is intended to seem off-frame, which means that it does not directly address the spectator and makes no attempt to make eye contact with them. According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), this type of gaze gives the image a more symbolic quality that forces the viewers to act as observers. This style of image is referred to as "Demanding". To elicit more empathy from viewers, it is consequently advised that the image is reflecting or concerned about what might be done. The man carrying a lady clad in a blood-stained Nigerian flag is the datum's complementary element, and the image itself is employed to convey a cogent message. It is intended to incite and negatively persuade the audience to concur that a soldier shot and killed a demonstrator of the #EndSARS movement. There is no caption or other textual description accompanying the image.

Datum 2

Professor Attahiru Jega, the former Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) is confidently seated in the centre of the image, implying that nothing will prevent Atiku from winning the 2019 elections if the current INEC chairman follows in his footsteps and conducts free and fair elections. Professor Jega takes up the entire image's maximum size, per the salience feature. The picture's background is all white. The image's colour scheme may appear hazy and ambiguous (Disconnection), with one direction aimed towards the viewer and the other at Atiku Abubakar, the presidential contender. Professor Jega is trying to convey to the audience that there is a secret hope for a free and fair election. Jega wants Atiku to know that if he wins the election, he should consider him. The audience will agree with the message being conveyed by the meaning-makers of the image adhere to that it was captured during an interview session.

The interactive part of the image features text that is written in the style of a newspaper caption. Professor Jega is seated wearing traditional white clothing, and the text has been set in a white/bold colour. Professor Jega's name is listed above his photograph, suggesting that the caption belongs to him. The fake Twitter handle of the image-makers is displayed in blue font with a hashtag (#). The counter message by INEC was represented by the red stamp in upper case at the foreground of the photograph to demonstrate that the message was fake.

Datum 3

This datum indicates a large number of participants as well as other highly active ones. A dead body is being carried by the participants in a coffin that is covered in white fabric. It is possible to observe the trees and flowers in the background that mirror those in the Presidential Villa. The caption in the image reads - "Breaking News: Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is Dead". All of these participants are "Demanding" because none of them is gazing into the frame. Here, we may conclude that the participants are set up to both invite the viewers to join in on the time of sadness through their sad attitude and to make the viewers observant toward believing that the president did pass away. This kind of gaze, in the opinion of Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996, p. 124), lends the image a more symbolic dimension that compels the viewers to take on the role of observers. The coffin's bareness and the white fabric are taken to imply that the deceased was a Muslim. The camera shot of how everyone is engaged demonstrates that the death was not of an ordinary personality.

In addition, because of the concept of complementarity, the passing of such a significant figure unites individuals from various walks of life, as shown by the images that are projected by the image makers. As can be seen from the text that accompanied the image, fake news photos are always intended to lead viewers to believe the veracity of the information they present.

Datum 4

This datum is a news headline that was labelled as fake by both the Vatican and the White House, yet had more than a billion views in America and other countries in just twenty-four hours. The caption "Pope Francis shocks the world, endorses Donald Trump for president" appears with photographs of the pope and the former US president Donald Trump.

According to Kress and van Leeuwen's (2006) model, Donald Trump is shown on the right side of the picture as (New), and the Pope is shown on the left. Salience feature places provided information in the left zone (where the Pope appeared) and new information in the right zone (where Donald Trump appeared).

The two leaders' faces are shown side by side in the image, each sporting an arrestingly large smile. The colour is in harmony with the written text in the two pictures. Donald Trump appears to be hopeful, and this hope reflects his self-confidence. There is a satisfying smile on the faces of both leaders, which is another indication of self-confidence. The white colour which is a bright, strong, and energetic colour that is a customary Pope's dress in every formal event immediately grabs the attention of viewers. Here, the Pope is dressed in White on purpose so that viewers will strongly believe that the Pope has officially endorsed Donald Trump.

Furthermore, as noted by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), the participants' expressions of happiness and the fact that they are positioned to look into the frame make the picture "an offering image", which calls for the caption to allow the viewers to share in the joy of the situation at hand. The image depicts a moment that gave Donald Trump's presidential campaign complete satisfaction and awe. The viewers' response is triggered by the reactors' facial expressions.

Datum 5

In this datum, the image of Mr Dokubo Asari, a Niger Delta activist, is displayed in the centre of the image. Mr. Dokubo is centrally located in the picture and takes up a significant amount of space (Maximum) according to the salience feature. With regard to the framing element, the figure appears to be in (a relationship) with the other components of the photo. With two forefingers, he gestures to two photos of President Buhari, one of which depicts a fit and active Buhari at his inauguration in 2015 to draw the audience's attention while the other shows the president looking lighter and slimmer as a result of recent health issues. His expressions, with little anger, suggest that something bad would happen if Nigerians did not act. His outfit is intriguing because it appears to be intended to look northern in some way to draw attention. His clothing complements the colour of the background.

When it comes to the multimodal analysis, Dokubo Asari is not only the agent for alleged fake news, but also the person in the picture who may be used to persuade Nigerians to accept that President Buhari is a clone, as his photo suggests. The photo mentions President Buhari's name, as the nomination feature suggests. Additionally, the text is printed in black to match the eye-catching components. To persuade people that it is true that President Buhari is a clone, the caption "Current Nigerian President Buhari is Clone" is printed over the images and attributed to Mr Asari Dokubo.

The text written in red allows viewers to distinguish between the two images of President Buhari, which may make it easier to accept that what the image producers are claiming is real. The actor is the participant who generates vectors, and the objective is the person who receives them, according to Kress & Van Leeuwen (2006). In this case, a narrative action is produced. An eye line or gaze that creates a vector produces a reactionary tale. Here, the goal transforms into a phenomenon, and the actor takes on the role of the reactor.

6. Discussion of Findings

The study employs the Visual Grammar framework proposed by Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) to interpret fake news images as texts. The findings discovered the multimodal qualities of fake news images and explained their meaning potential by using the three semiotic functions– representational, interactional, and compositional.

The people depicted as the major social actors in the fake news photographs under analysis are distinct from one another, and thus make it clear that they carry out various social roles. This would fall under the functionalization and identification category according to van `Leeuwen's (2008) classification of social actors because it discusses social players in terms of their identity or activity.

Furthermore, because the texts under analysis are represented texts, which means that they are individualized and portrayed as persons (van Leuween, 2008), and they are collectivized, the personality identities are emphasized. In this sense, it is evident that in the five images, the characters are the text's protagonists, making them the focus of the information.

Additionally, the personalities portrayed seem to be engaged in the scenes where they are demanding or offering to the audience directly (see Datum 1, 2, and 4) or when they appear to be engaged in an activity, in which there is interaction with the other social actors portrayed. In contrast to how it is shown in the other texts, Datum 1 appears passive because it does not address the viewers directly but rather demands from them.

Nomination is a category that uses names to allude to the distinctive identities of social players. The personalities exhibited may without a doubt be easily recognized with their names by looking at their faces, even if the names of the personalities were visible in the images as seen in (Datum 2, 3 4, and 5). It is clear that the bodies of the various social players are cropped out of the images; hence, there is not a single image in which the actors’ entire bodies are visible. Typically, the top portion of the body, particularly the face, is highlighted in pictures, as it is in the texts under analysis.

The many social players shown do not appear to be cut off from people when social distance is taken into account. In (Datum 1, 3, 4, and 5), close-up views are used to highlight the person’s uniqueness; it appears in the foreground and is portrayed as approaching the viewer. The most essential goals of the fake news images are to invite cooperation and persuasion in the social relationships between the personalities and the viewers. The primary aspect to take into account when analyzing social interaction is whether or not the social actors are looking at the audience. Therefore, by addressing the spectator directly, we are encouraged to participate in the action as it is happening.

The key parallels and divergences in the studied data are displayed in the following table. This is a straightforward method to see the key traits of the analyzed fake news photographs and what they share in terms of how the images are presented:

Table 1: Comparison of five fake news images


Persons as
the main

2 Persons


with their
bodies cut

Persons in
close up

looking/gazing at the

Datum 1







Datum 2






Datum 3







Datum 4







Datum 5








7. Conclusion

This study examined five images that were used to influence viewers and spread misinformation on social media platforms to divide and mislead the public. Kress and van Leeuwen's (2006) visual grammar, and Van Leeuwen's (2008) examination of social actors, and critical discourse analysis have all been utilized to dissect the images. The results of the research demonstrated that the participants were depicted as active people with different status. They can persuade individuals to agree with the messages since they are social actors. The written language of the analyzed fake news images demonstrated the traits of social media discourse, whose main goals are to spread information, interact with others around the world, and persuade people to agree with the topic at hand: use of news captions, positive language, questions, and short phrases are the main features of the fake news discovered. In this regard, the various depictions and the actors' visual portrayals allude to the idea of fake news's detrimental impacts on society and how they obstruct socioeconomic growth.


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 9. Appendices


Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Visual Fake News Images

Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Visual Fake News Images
Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Visual Fake News Images

Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Visual Fake News Images

Multimodal Discourse Analysis of Visual Fake News Images

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