News on How Misinformation Spreads

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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

Joining me on this week’s episode is Craig Silverman, a reporter at Buzzfeed, who along with two of his colleagues in January wrote one of the most chilling articles I have read in a while, “Disinformation for Hire: How a New Breed of PR Firms is Selling Lies Online”. I wanted to have him as a guest […]

The problems didn’t end there, though. Feigl-Ding hadn’t known that by the time he tweeted about the paper, the researchers had already lowered their estimate to 2.5. And R0, for that matter, is not the be-all and end-all of the danger of a virus. Some highly transmissible diseases are not actually that dangerous. Other experts […]

Ideological belief systems arise from epistemic, existential, and relational motives to reduce uncertainty, threat, and social discord. According to system justification theory, however, some ideologies—such as those that are conservative, religious, and legitimizing of the status quo—are especially appealing to people whose epistemic, existential, and relational motives are chronically or temporarily heightened. In this article, […]

“We are already at the point where you can’t tell the difference between deepfakes and the real thing,” Professor Hao Li of the University of Southern California tells the BBC. “It’s scary.” We are at the computer scientist’s deepfake installation at the World Economic Forum in Davos which gives a hint of what he means. […]

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