Research Topics

How Misinformation Spreads

Among the more worrisome aspects of dis- and misinformation in the digital age are the number of people it can reach in a short time, and the persistent recurrence of its narratives in online spaces. What facilitates its spread on social media? How do traditional media amplify disinformation? This collection addresses scholarship on network effects and individual behaviors in spreading misinformation. 

Targeted Disinformation

Recent research reveals how contemporary online harassment fits into historical patterns of oppression of women, minorities, and vulnerable groups.

Defining “Disinformation”

What are dis- and misinformation? What about propaganda and “fake news?” This introduction discusses the importance of a unified set of definitions in the social sciences.

The network of websites that pose as local news outlets but aren’t has grown exponentially in the run up to next year’s midterm elections. Who funds the sites, and how can we track them? And why are they called “pink slime”? On this week’s Kicker, Priyanjana Bengani, a senior research fellow at Columbia Journalism School’s Tow […]

YouTube’s recommendation algorithm pushes users into ideological filter bubbles that are stronger for viewers of right-wing content, according to new research by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) that highlights how the platform drives political polarization. Over hundreds of clicks and views, TTP researchers found that the YouTube algorithm creates a feedback loop for users who […]

In some rural Illinois ZIP codes, only one in five people have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. A lack of correct information seems to play a major role. A team at the University of Illinois is investigating how misinformation about COVID-19 spreads in rural areas of the state. U of I journalism professor Nikki Usher leads the team. […]

On Feb. 4, 2019, a Facebook researcher created a new user account to see what it was like to experience the social media site as a person living in Kerala, India. For the next three weeks, the account operated by a simple rule: Follow all the recommendations generated by Facebook’s algorithms to join groups, watch […]

The powerful conservative youth group Turning Point USA, which has forged strong ties to Donald Trump and his son Don Trump Jr, has raised tens of millions of dollars from super rich donors and secret backers while pushing disinformation about Joe Biden’s win in 2020, Covid-19 vaccines and other extremist and rightwing issues. The group […]

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MediaWell compiles news and scholarship on digital disinformation and misinformation. Our literature reviews and news collections curate the latest knowledge on networked democracy, media, and technology.