News on How Misinformation Spreads

Donald Trump’s “big lie” playbook — the collection of falsehoods alleging that the 2020 election was stolen through voting fraud — mirrors the tactics used by sophisticated spreaders of disinformation. The big picture: Research from the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center shows there’s a typical cycle that people use to manipulate the media and spread […]

Here is the latest installment of a weekly feature I have been running for some time on this blog — lessons from the nonprofit News Literacy Project, which aims to teach students and the public how to sort fact from fiction in our digital and contentious age. The News Literacy Project was founded more than a […]

David Greene, who lost his medical license in 2009 after botched surgeries resulted in several deaths, is a marketing CEO in the United States whose lucrative business sells unproven—and sometimes dangerous—medical treatments using birth tissues. While stem cell therapies are effective treatments for a limited list of diseases, Greene and his marketing strategies have persuaded customers that stem […]

In late October, Dejene Assefa, an Addis Ababa–based activist known for his appearances on state television in Ethiopia, posted a message to his more than 120,000 followers on Facebook. The post exhorted his compatriots to rise up across the country and murder members of the Tigrayan ethnic group. “The war is with those you grew […]

 At 10:16pm on October 7, a cluster of nineteen Twitter accounts shared identical opinions about the upcoming presidential election in Honduras at the exact same second. Claiming to be supporters of opposition candidate Xiomara Castro, they all falsely suggested Castro might join forces with Yani Rosenthal, another candidate who had just returned to the country […]

“False, manipulated or subverted information is a weapon,” French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly said last month. She’s right that disinformation is a weapon. The question is whether her country and others like it should be able to use it. Facebook in the winter of 2020 took down two opposing foreign influence operations in the Central African Republic: One […]

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On a recent episode of his podcast, Rick Wiles, a pastor and self-described “citizen reporter,” endorsed a conspiracy theory: that Covid-19 vaccines were the product of a “global coup d’état by the most evil cabal of people in the history of mankind.” “It’s an egg that hatches into a synthetic parasite and grows inside your […]

When oil and gas companies took to Twitter during the first half of the U.N.’s Glasgow climate conference, they often presented themselves as part of the solution to climate change and talked about energy security. In many ways, their messaging on social media provides a window into how these companies want the public to see […]

Whatever one’s views on the appropriateness of vaccine or mask mandates or other coronavirus-related policies, one fact about those debates is incontrovertible: Misinformation is very disproportionately a problem on one side — the right. A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation lays that bare better than anything before it. But even the overall numbers might undersell the […]

From rumored vaccine risks to the fatal misuse of ivermectin, misinformation has posed significant obstacles in the battle against COVID-19. Although warning labels on content have proven to dissuade many people from sharing so-called “fake news,” that’s not true for all. New research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business identifies a specific personality type […]

Videos of the Astroworld crowd crush that killed eight people flooded TikTok over the weekend. But conspiracy theories have also flourished alongside the graphic footage, accusing the rapper Travis Scott, who founded and performed at the festival, of orchestrating a massive satanic ritual. “This ain’t a festival, it’s a sacrifice,” reads one typical comment. “The […]

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