News on How Misinformation Spreads

As Facebook assumed its central role in the information landscape, the company quietly made decisions that boosted profits with little regard to the consequences for privacy, politics, and the news industry. When those controversial calls and other travails associated with abuses of the platform gradually came to light, Facebook, as early investor Roger McNamee put […]

Just how factually accurate are most health articles you come across? You might be savvy enough to sort Goop from the Mayo Clinic, but when it comes to traditional news outlets, you might also be surprised to learn how much false information is really out there. Health Feedback, a bipartisan network of scientists who collectively […]

Fifteen years ago this week, Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg created TheFacebook.com, a social network for college students that looked a lot like Friendster or Myspace. The company moved from his dorm room to Silicon Valley a few months later, and began expanding to other universities. In the beginning, Zuckerberg didn’t take his role too seriously. […]

Much has been made of the importance of the speed at which disinformation diffuses through online social media and this speed is an important aspect to consider when designing interventions. An additional complexity is that there can be different types of false information that travel from and through different communities who respond in various ways […]

The massive spread of digital misinformation has been identified as a major threat to democracies. Communication, cognitive, social, and computer scientists are studying the complex causes for the viral diffusion of misinformation, while online platforms are beginning to deploy countermeasures. Little systematic, data-based evidence has been published to guide these efforts. Here we analyze 14 […]

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The dynamics and influence of fake news on Twitter during the 2016 US presidential election remains to be clarified. Here, we use a dataset of 171 million tweets in the five months preceding the election day to identify 30 million tweets, from 2.2 million users, which contain a link to news outlets. Based on a […]

“Revelations around Russian efforts to shape the 2016 US presidential election through the use of disinformation, bots, and hacking have thrust the problems of “fake news” and social media manipulation into the public spotlight,” writes Tim Hwang, director of the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, in “Digital Disinformation: A Primer,” a new publication […]

This report provides a new framework for policy-makers, legislators, researchers, technologists and practitioners working on the theoretical and practical challenges related to mis-, dis- and mal-information — the three elements of information disorder. While the historical impact of rumours and fabricated content have been well documented, the complexity and scale of information pollution in our […]

In the beginning, the World Wide Web was exciting and open to the point of anarchy, a vast and intimidating repository of unindexed confusion. Into this creative chaos came Google with its dazzling mission—“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible”—and its much-quoted motto, “Don’t be evil.” In this provocative book, Siva Vaidhyanathan […]

If you wanted to build a machine that would distribute propaganda to millions of people, distract them from important issues, energize hatred and bigotry, erode social trust, undermine respectable journalism, foster doubts about science, and engage in massive surveillance all at once, you would make something a lot like Facebook. Of course, none of that […]