News on How Misinformation Spreads

“The data and methodologies available to social scientists have exploded with the emergence of vast archives of passive data collection, large scale online experimentation, and innovative uses of simulation.  These data are of a larger magnitude and methods are of a greater computational complexity than approaches that have dominated political science for the last 50 […]

Facebook no doubt thought banning the accounts of prominent alt-right misinformation vectors like Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer would be a win-win. Not only would it allow the company to get rid of some obvious troublemakers, but it would also make Facebook look decisive about misinformation on its platform, a problem it has […]

Across the US and even in mainland China, a news story is arresting the attention of a global Chinese-speaking readership: The New York City standardized high school entrance exam. It’s a wonky topic that improbably inflames Chinese American parents as well as Chinese ones reading from their living rooms in Beijing and Shanghai,  because of […]

After Facebook helped spread misinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign, company executives vowed to do better. They put in place policies meant to reduce the amount of political misinformation on the platform. They’re not doing a very good job of keeping their word. Judd Legum, author of the Popular Information newsletter, wrote yesterday that he […]

“Please join us for the First Annual CivicLex Media & Democracy Seminar at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning! The event will feature a panel conversation with Andrea Hart (City Bureau Chicago), Tom Eblen (Lexington Herald-Leader) and Carly Muetterties (Kentucky Council for the Social Studies), followed by an interactive workshop focusing on the Knight […]

“Interested in the ways media and information technologies support democratic communities and institutions all around the world? Join the U.S. Agency for Global Media, media experts, practitioners, opinion leaders and policy makers for the Media for Democracy Forum #M4DF: a multi-session event designed for exchanging ideas and networking.”

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“In 1998, MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program held the first Media in Transition (MiT) conference and inaugurated a related book series. Research from that first MiT conference appeared in Democracy and New Media, Jenkins & Thorburn, eds., (MIT Press, 2003). Now, twenty years later, we are organizing the 10th iteration of the event. Much has […]

“Social media platforms recently came under scrutiny after they failed to prevent the creation of fake accounts aimed at manipulating the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. The impact of social media on democracy and public debate is felt in many other ways: today’s algorithms, for instance, tend to encourage the spread of emotionally charged opinions, and […]

This is the ugly conundrum of the digital age: When you traffic in outrage, you get death. So when the Sri Lankan government temporarily shut down access to American social media services like Facebook and Google ’s YouTube after the bombings there on Easter morning, my first thought was “good.” Good, because it could save […]

  Yesterday, I wrote about YouTube’s algorithmic screwup which somehow associated images of Notre-Dame Cathedral burning with the 9/11 attacks and embedded information about those attacks under news organizations’ live streams from Paris. And in that piece, I noted a number of other times YouTube’s algorithm — which is meant to put reliable information under […]

The Notre Dame Cathedral inspires so much awe in visitors that seemingly everyone who steps inside it feels a powerful, and personal, sense of connection to it. I visited it myself for the first time two years ago and, like everyone else I know, was thrilled by its foreboding Gothic architecture. In spite of myself, […]

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