Research Topics

Credibility and Trust

Policymakers, scientists, and journalists have worried for years about declining public trust in their institutions. Are new technologies like social media contributing to this decline, or are they convenient scapegoats for broader forces in society? We discuss research on how  populist politics and other anti-elite, anti-institutional movements are intersecting with declining public trust and the rise of alternative epistemologies. 

Mitigating Misinformation

Responses to misinformation include media literacy, fact checking, and more technology. This collection discusses how researchers evaluate their effectiveness.

Consequences of Exposure

What happens when individuals are exposed to misinformation? Researchers are studying the societal effects of contaminated information environments.

Ushering in the contemporary ‘fake news’ crisis, Craig Silverman of Buzzfeed News reported that it outperformed mainstream news on Facebook in the three months prior to the 2016 US presidential elections. Here the report’s methods and findings are revisited for 2020. Examining Facebook user engagement of election-related stories, and applying Silverman’s classification of fake news, […]

Since March, a group of scholars from Northeastern, Harvard, Rutgers, and Northwestern have been working to understand how social behaviors affect transmission of Covid-19. They’ve issued a series of reports over the months, and the most recent one is an analysis of nearly 30 million Covid-19-related tweets collected between January 1 and September 30, 2020, […]

On a late fall day last year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sat down on a couch on the company’s San Francisco roof deck and dug into a problem. Next to him was the company’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde. The 2020 U.S. election was barely a year out and Twitter executives were worried the company was […]

Joan Donovan, research director for Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, said Wednesday that our increasingly polarized political climate and the poor regulation of online spaces has contributed to an “entangled web” of disinformation that bad actors can weaponize and amplify. This has enabled conspiracy theories like QAnon to spread from […]

A deluge of misinformation is hitting the U.S. elections, and this time election experts are more worried about it coming from Americans. Back in 2016, Kremlin-linked Russian trolls surprised social media companies with an online disinformation campaign. Russian trolls developed an effective playbook — they used a large network of fake accounts to spread incendiary […]

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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.