News on How Misinformation Spreads

Conspiracy theories are powerful forces in the U.S. They have damaged public health amid a global pandemic, shaken faith in the democratic process and helped spark a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol in January 2021. These conspiracy theories are part of a dangerous misinformation crisis that has been building for years in the U.S. American […]

One day after Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter account was suspended over Covid-19 misinformation, Rand Paul announced that he’s fed up with Big Tech. To emphasize his fist-shaking, he declared he’d be joining a Donald Trump-backed video-streaming platform called Rumble. Why Rumble? Adored by the far-right, Rumble is a Canadian video-sharing platform that launched […]

Disinformation — about the Jan. 6 attack, COVID-19, vaccines, etc. — shaped the nation’s politics in 2021 and likely will continue to do so throughout the coming year. EYDER PERALTA, HOST: Fuelling the riot at the Capitol on January 6 was, of course, the verifiably false claim that former President Trump won the election. And […]

A new conspiracy theory is gaining traction: Omicron is a variant invented by the Democrats in order to help them in the midterm elections. Pete Hegseth, a Fox News commentator, suggested that you could “count on a variant about every October, every two years.” It’s natural to wonder who would believe ridiculous conspiracy theories like […]

The extent to which we value intuitive or evidence-based reasoning has important implications for our susceptibility to misinformation. National survey data from Nov-Dec 2020 demonstrate that Trump favorability, conservatism, and Republicanism are associated with instinct-based epistemic values and a rejection of expertise and evidence. Results also indicate that these same epistemic motivations increase one’s likelihood […]

At the end of 2020, it seemed hard to imagine a worse year for misinformation on social media, given the intensity of the presidential election and the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic. But 2021 proved up to the task, starting with the Jan. 6 insurrection and continuing with copious amounts of falsehoods and distortions about […]

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It’s become both fashionable and unsatisfying to worry about disinformation and misinformation. Fashionable because the stuff seems to be proliferating, among other things inhibiting the vaccinations we need to stem the pandemic, and bolstering claims that the clear loser of the last presidential election somehow didn’t lose at all. Unsatisfying because significant efforts, private and […]

When U.S. presidential candidates misrepresent the facts, their claims get discussed across media streams, creating a lasting public impression. We show this through a public performance: the 2020 presidential debates. For every five newspaper articles related to the presidential candidates, President Donald J. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr., there was one mention of a […]

Social media was used to both spread misinformation and for fact-checking during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study which explores how individuals perceive and make sense of information they encounter during times of global crisis. Psychologists at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) carried out 24 semi-structured interviews with people aged 18–56 […]

Building and maintaining patient trust begins with the exchange of honest and open communication and accurate information. Once lost, this trust is nearly impossible to restore—which is why the torrent of misinformation and falsehoods we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic has been so damaging. To understand why, it’s important to know the difference between misinformation […]

Until a few years ago, disinformation was talked about mostly as a geopolitical tactic. Throughout the Cold War and up through the 2016 election, concerns over disinformation centered on foreign governments, in particular their motives and tactics. Now, disinformation seems to have metastasized and is blamed for bedeviling elections, impairing pandemic response, and fanning conflicts. […]

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