News on How Misinformation Spreads

Is there a journalist among us who has not been tempted by a hot story tip that sounds slightly implausible but, hey, would be deliciously fascinating if true? Imagining that, you can get an idea of why social media users might be inclined to share a news story with their friends that may not be clearly true […]

There is a lot of concern about how the news ecosystem affects public opinion, political polarization, and democracy. Most of the research and public debate focuses on overtly fake material, particularly as it is distributed through social media. But, the vast majority of news consumption is actual produced by mainstream media, and the most common […]

We measure the immediate and medium-term effects of 21 highly-trafficked pieces of misinformation and fact-checks during the 2020 U.S. election with eight panel experiments (N = 17,681). Exposure to misinformation increased false beliefs by an average of 4.3 points on a 100-point belief certainty scale. Exposure to fact-checks more than corrected this effect, decreasing false […]

When Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Monday night, the conversation turned to what could have been done differently to prevent the 700,000 coronavirus deaths we’ve seen so far. In the course of discussing that, though, the two of them reinforced one of the bigger problems with stomping out the […]

When it comes to misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, health advocates have heard it all. During a recent round of surveying farmworkers, there were a number of concerns ranging from misguided and inaccurate to specific and head-scratching, such as that the shots will somehow alter a recipient’s sexuality. “Every single week, it’s a new myth,” […]

John Tye, the founder of Whistleblower Aid, a legal nonprofit that represents people seeking to expose potential lawbreaking, was contacted this spring through a mutual connection by a woman who claimed to have worked at Facebook. The woman told Mr. Tye and his team something intriguing: She had access to tens of thousands of pages of […]

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.l-article-header__block–breadcrumbs On TikTok, the user @tythecrazyguy has amassed 3.7 million followers talking about one of the internet’s most popular topics: conspiracy theories. But Ty is not a typical conspiracy theorist. He’s a high school senior who posts rainbow flags during Pride Month, supports Black Lives Matter, and condemns Trump. In videos that often garner millions […]

Frances Haugen, the whistleblower behind a series of damaging revelations about Facebook, is adamant that she wants to help the social media company and not foment hatred of it. The 37-year-old leaked tens of thousands of internal company documents after becoming frustrated that Facebook was not publicly acknowledging the harm its platforms could cause. “If […]

A growing number of elected Republicans are openly promoting “white replacement theory,” a decades-old conspiracy theory that’s animated terrorist attacks, including the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Why it matters: This mainstreams what once was the sole provenance of white supremacists. What it is: “White replacement theory” posit the existence of a plot to change America’s […]

At 5 p.m. on September 25, Daniel Vezzoli, 34, was standing across from City Hall in the northern Italian town of Bergamo. He was answering a call to action that he had read on Telegram earlier that week. “Protests against the dictatorship, organized by the people, non-political, in over 120 cities,” it read. Along with […]

YouTube has deleted Russian state-backed broadcaster RT’s German-language channels, saying they had breached its Covid misinformation policy. “YouTube has always had clear community guidelines that outline what is allowed on the platform,” said a spokesperson. RT’s German channel was initially issued a strike for uploading content that violated YouTube’s Covid misinformation policy, resulting in a […]

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