News on Targeted Disinformation

In October 2018, just over a week before the presidential election that would cement Jair Bolsonaro’s rise to power, Brazil’s newspaper of record Folha de S.Paulo published an exposé on his campaign’s allegedly illegal use of WhatsApp to spread false news stories about his opponent Fernando Haddad. The author of the story, the award-winning journalist […]

One tweet claimed coronavirus numbers were intentionally inflated, adding, “It’s hard to know what to believe.” Another warned, “Don’t trust Dr. Fauci.” A Facebook comment argued that mail-in ballots “will lead to fraud for this election,” while an Instagram comment amplified the erroneous claim that 28 million ballots went missing in the past four elections. The messages have been […]

All elections feature claims and counterclaims by contending parties. The 2020 election seems to be an especially salient example, as conspiracy theories and a variety of misleading narratives, many of which can be debunked with professional fact-checking, are rampant. At Indiana University’s Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe), our team is tracking widely circulated narratives throughout […]

Investigations by news organizations, US intelligence agencies, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, and of course by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, all reached the same conclusion: The Russian government meddled in the 2016 presidential elections. Some observers have gone so far as to conclude that Russia’s machinations were essential to Trump’s victory. By taking advantage of social media’s tendency to aggregate and […]

Manipulated videos are rapidly becoming a fixture of the 2020 election. On Aug. 30, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) used Twitter to share a video that was misleadingly edited to distort Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s views on defunding the police. That same day, Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, tweeted a manipulated video […]

In 2014, pockets of Black women on Twitter noticed something strange—social media accounts that appeared to be operated by other Black women they’d never heard of, spreading divisive messages about Black people. But something about the way the accounts spoke didn’t seem quite right. They tweeted like people doing bad impressions of Black women, saying […]

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This study examines how low-income African-American older adults, one of the groups most vulnerable to misinformation online, assess the credibility of online information. In examining this, we conducted both face-to-face interviews and a survey and then analyzed how their digital media use, demographics, self-efficacy, and involvement with particular topics were associated with their credibility assessments […]

Four years after Russian operatives used social media in a bid to exacerbate America’s racial divisions and suppress Black voting, such tactics have spread to a wide range of disinformation ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The potency and persistence of this playbook was on display this week as Twitter deleted an account that claimed […]

When it comes to nation-state disinformation campaigns on social media, U.S. elections and political candidates aren’t the only targets. Renée DiResta, research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, has been studying how disinformation and propaganda spread across social media platforms, as well as mainstream news cycles to create “malign narratives.” In her keynote address for […]

The recent rise of disinformation and propaganda on social media has attracted strong interest from social scientists. Research on the topic has repeatedly observed ideological asymmetries in disinformation content and reception, wherein conservatives are more likely to view, redistribute, and believe such content. However, preliminary evidence has suggested that race may also play a substantial […]

The Allied Media Conference emerges out of 20 years of relationship-building across issues, identities, organizing practices and creative mediums. Since the first conference (then the Midwest Zine Conference) in 1999, people have been compelled by the concept of do-it-yourself media. The zine conference was rebranded as the “Underground Publishing Conference” for a couple years and […]

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