Algorithms and Automation

Automation is a crucial tool of many disinformation campaigns, while algorithms are the complex sets of rules that affect what we see online. Because algorithms are designed by humans, they may reproduce biases and ideologies while making those biases seem naturalResearchers are also exploring how algorithms and automation can be used to study misinformation or counter malicious uses of the same kinds of tools. 

Live Research Review

Automated devices permeate our lives, from our toasters to Siri. The promise has been that automation and algorithms will make our lives simpler, and help us find the things we want in an increasingly connected world. But we now realize that on social media platforms, algorithms and automation can be used to spread disinformation further and faster.

Teaching & Learning

Explore course modules, handouts, teaching tools and syllabi about dis- and misinformation.

Latest News on Algorithms and Automation

Machine learning has delivered amazing results, but there also have been failures, ranging from the harmless to potentially deadly. New work suggests that common assumptions about the cause behind these supposed malfunctions may be mistaken, information that is crucial for evaluating the reliability of these networks. […] Source: Misinformation or artifact: A new way to […]

Rapid disinformation attacks—i.e., attacks in which disinformation is unleashed quickly and broadly with the goal of creating an immediate disruptive effect—are one of the most significant challenges in the digital ecosystem. Consider the following hypothetical: On the morning of Election Day in a closely contested U.S. presidential election, supporters of one candidate launch a disinformation1 […]

The need to understand these cognitive vulnerabilities and how algorithms use or manipulate them has become urgent. At the University of Warwick in England and at Indiana University Bloomington’s Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe, pronounced “awesome”), our teams are using cognitive experiments, simulations, data mining and artificial intelligence to comprehend the cognitive vulnerabilities of social […]

It’s no secret that machine-learning models tuned and tweaked to near-perfect performance in the lab often fail in real settings. This is typically put down to a mismatch between the data the AI was trained and tested on and the data it encounters in the world, a problem known as data shift. For example, an […]

The audio on the otherwise shaky body camera footage is unusually clear. As police officers search a handcuffed man who moments before had fired a shot inside a pizza parlor, an officer asks him why he was there. The man says to investigate a pedophile ring. Incredulous, the officer asks again. Another officer chimes in, […]

Featured Scholars

Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University
University of Texas-Austin: School of Journalism, Assistant Professor UT Center for Media Engagement, Program Director
Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and the Department of Sociology (by courtesy), University of Texas at Austin
Harvard Kennedy School, Technology and Social Change Research Project