News on How Misinformation Spreads

As soldiers and civilians in Ukraine continue to resist an invasion by Russian troops, a very different kind of war is being fought on a separate front: the internet. Within hours of Russian troops attacking cities and government facilities in Ukraine, hackers—including some who claimed to be affiliated with the underground group known as Anonymous—went […]

Before the 2020 U.S. election, the Latino community was inundated with misinformation and conspiracy theories on political and health issues — including inaccurate claims that coronavirus vaccines don’t work, Democrats were illegally harvesting ballots, a Biden administration would put the United States under the control of “Jews and Blacks,” that Joe Biden was a socialist and […]

Moscow began a hybrid war in Ukraine weeks before any battalions entered the country. Ukrainian officials say that Russia stepped up a destabilization campaign involving cyberattacks, economic disruption and new tactics. The new misinformation methods, such as a deluge of emailed bomb threats and texts to residents informing them that ATMs are down, can cause […]

As Russian troops closed in on Kyiv and battered the Ukrainian capital with missile strikes on Friday, rumors spread by Russian state media said that President Volodymyr Zelensky had fled the country. That evening, as he has been doing for weeks, Zelensky sought to debunk the Russian disinformation narrative directly. In a defiant video posted […]

Just hours after the first explosions rocked Ukraine Wednesday night, massive Instagram meme pages began promoting an account purporting to be that of a journalist live-streaming from the ground. The posts urged fans to follow @livefromukraine to stay in the loop on the breaking news. “PUTIN DECLARES WAR: @livefromukraine is streaming the chaos now!!” one […]

The world’s biggest social media companies are scrambling to combat a global barrage of Kremlin-backed falsehoods and digital tricks around the invasion of Ukraine — putting the tech giants back in the political crosshairs over the spread of online disinformation. Russia-backed media reports falsely claiming that the Ukrainian government is conducting genocide of civilians ran unchecked and […]

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On an episode of Joe Rogan’s popular podcast last year, he turned to a topic that has gripped right-wing communities and other Americans who feel skeptical about the pandemic: search engines. “If I wanted to find specific cases about people who died from vaccine-related injuries, I had to go to DuckDuckGo,” Mr. Rogan said, referring […]

So far, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unfolding largely as the U.S. government predicted it might. “We have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false-flag operation to have an excuse to go in,” President Biden said last week. “Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine.” He added […]

While it’s easy to consider President George Washington as a Founding Father from long ago, his political milieu of the 1700s had at least one thing in common with today: People used misinformation to try to gain political advantage. And, yes, even George Washington was a target. Forged letters from before his presidency claimed to […]

Theoretical cosmologist Katie Mack spends a lot of time on Twitter. Mack, at North Carolina State University, joined the platform to talk about science under the moniker “Astro Katie” more than 10 years ago. Since then, her fun and informative posts about space have earned her nearly half a million followers. Unfortunately, she says, there […]

When Facebook removed dozens of groups dedicated to Canada’s anti-government “Freedom Convoy” protests earlier this month, it didn’t do so because of extremism or conspiracies rife within the protests. It was because the groups were being run by scam artists. Networks of spammers and profiteers, some based as far afield as Vietnam or Romania, had […]

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