News on Contexts of Misinformation

Over the past four years, Facebook has made a big show of demonstrating how much it cares about democracy and how much it’s doing to combat election interference or fake news. It has assembled “war rooms” and published white papers. It has hired thousands of content moderators (as in, they’re looking at content; they’re actually […]

The students sit at desks in groups of four, watching videos about the recent bush fires in Australia. One shows an apocalyptic landscape in flames, the other a tourist paradise, with assurances that much of the continent is safe. Instead of dismissing both as fake news, the eighth graders know what questions to ask to […]

Last September, an image of a New York Times headline began circulating online, claiming that Abdullah Abdullah, a candidate for the Afghan presidency, had taken millions of dollars from Pakistan. Though the Times never published such a story, the convincing fake image—complete with the font and website design—exploited longstanding divisions in Afghan politics during a closely contested […]

People are often incredibly wrong about key social and political realities in their countries, as I explore in my book, Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything, which draws on over 100,000 interviews across up to 40 nations, including the U.S.. For example, people in the U.S. think that 24 percent of teenage girls give birth […]

Trump is kicking the Democrats’ asses. For decades, the theory of communications that undergirded politics was: Politician says something → press covers it → public reads or watches the press’ account of what the politician said. The results of the 2016 election should make it crystal clear that approach is antiquated at best. Political campaigns […]

Every day, platforms like Facebook have to make trade-offs on important social values — between free expression and safety, privacy and law enforcement, and between creating open systems and locking down data. There is rarely a clear “right” answer. Often it is as important that decisions are made in a way that people feel is […]

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Research has prominently assumed that social media and web portals that aggregate news restrict the diversity of content that users are exposed to by tailoring news diets toward the users’ preferences. In our empirical test of this argument, we apply a random-effects within–between model to two large representative datasets of individual web browsing histories. This […]

Top-two primaries reshape the electoral process by changing the mix of opponents that candidates face, thus altering the electorate to which they must respond. Specifically, when top-two primaries produce two same-party opponents for the general election, candidates cannot simply rely on party-based voting to win. Advocates of the top-two primary system contend that if safe […]

This introduction to the special issue “Beyond Fake News: The Politics of Disinformation” contains four main sections. In the first, we discuss the major sociopolitical factors that have allowed disinformation to flourish in recent years. Second, we review the very short history of disinformation research, devoting particular attention to two of its more extensively studied […]

Facebook said Friday that it would not be adding sponsored posts that politicians commission from influencers to its public ad library, a tool that saves information about advertisements on the platform. Given the platform’s policy of not fact-checking political ads, it’s also unclear whether the platform will fact-check the posts. The platform’s announcement about sponsored […]

In March of 2019, Facebook banned white nationalist and white separatist statements from its platform. White supremacism had been forbidden for some time, but last year’s Christchurch massacre seems to have convinced the social network that a more aggresively anti-racist approach was necessary. This ban is not comprehensive, and there are numerous holes in enforcement. […]

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