News on How Misinformation Spreads

On July 13, 2018, five friends took a road trip to the south Indian village of Handikera, which is in the state of Karnataka. The five men, Salham al-Kubassi, Mohammed Salman, Mohammed Azam, Mohammed Afroz and Noor Mohammad, traveled to the outskirts of town for a picnic. They drove by children getting out of school […]

The social media conversation over the climate crisis is being reshaped by an army of automated Twitter bots, with a new analysis finding that a quarter of all tweets about climate on an average day are produced by bots, the Guardian can reveal. The stunning levels of Twitter bot activity on topics related to global […]

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 […]

Even though internal Fox News documents caution that frequent guests Rudy Giuliani and John Solomon traffic in “disinformation,” the network can’t seem to quit booking them. Since The Daily Beast first reported on the 162-page document, produced by the network’s research division known as the “Brain Room,” Giuliani—who, according to the briefing, has a “high […]

College students, Alec Baldwin or a Russian bot? A Facebook page called North Carolina Breaking News describes itself as “satire/parody” that wants to help President Donald Trump win re-election this fall. The page, which has garnered more than 50,000 followers since it was created Jan. 24, posts a mix of real and fake news. Now […]

Last month, Facebook announced that it will not limit microtargeting capabilities for political ads. Nor will it police factual accuracy of those ads. As much as the spread of blatant falsehoods on social media rankles Americans, that second judgment may be wise, as Facebook has neither the capacity nor the legitimacy to act as arbiters of truth. But […]

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Political disinformation existed long before the rise of Donald Trump and social media. In the 1990s, for example, right-wing operatives pushed the conspiracy theory that Vince Foster, who worked in the Clinton White House, was murdered by the Clintons. Multiple investigations found that Foster, who suffered from depression, committed suicide in July 1993. But the […]

The plot had all the elements of a big-budget thriller: Put an untested gene therapy technology in the hands of unscrupulous scientists. Make them soldiers of a greedy pharmaceutical company. Then give them the protection of a secretive and authoritarian government that will stop at nothing to achieve world domination. They will, of course, unleash […]

Fox News’ own research team has warned colleagues not to trust some of the network’s top commentators’ claims about Ukraine. An internal Fox News research briefing book obtained by The Daily Beast openly questions Fox News contributor John Solomon’s credibility, accusing him of playing an “indispensable role” in a Ukrainian “disinformation campaign.” The document also […]

The outbreak of the new coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, with all the misinformation and conspiracy that has followed it, has put the major social media companies to the test as they try to combat panic and paranoia.The big U.S. companies have moved quickly to try to quell criticism that their platforms are turning […]

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum, and in the absence of results from the Iowa caucus, a range of conspiracy theories have sprouted. As of this morning, results from last night’s caucus are still outstanding. The Iowa Democratic Party blames that on the failures of a new app it rolled out to gather results from […]

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