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

In February 2021, Facebook abruptly wiped all of the news from its platform in Australia. The country’s lawmakers were trying to force the company to share its profits with media outlets, and this was the dramatic response. The gambit worked: After a nearly week-long blackout, which extended to pages from Australian nonprofits and government services, […]

Instagram is blocking posts that mention abortion from public view, in some cases requiring its users to confirm their age before letting them view posts that offer up information about the procedure. Over the last day, several Instagram accounts run by abortion rights advocacy groups have found their posts or stories hidden with a warning […]

In May 2021, during India’s second wave of COVID-19, SQ Masood and his father-in-law were returning home on his silver-coloured motor scooter in Hyderabad, in the Indian state of Telangana. While driving through the busy lanes of Shahran, a Muslim-dominated neighborhood, they were pulled over by two police officers. Masood wasn’t concerned at first because […]

Elon Musk’s bid to acquire Twitter for $44 billion is only a month old, but it has already had more twists and turns than any Coney Island roller coaster. After Musk filed notice of his offer with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 13, Twitter’s board of directors implemented a “poison pill” defense, which […]

Elon Musk’s tweet saying his planned Twitter Inc. acquisition was on hold put the spotlight on questions about fake accounts, which have vexed social-media platforms for years. Mr. Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., said in a tweet early Friday that his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter was “temporarily on hold pending […]

Featured Scholars

Associate Professor, Dept. of Information Studies, Dept. of African American Studies, UCLA
University of Texas-Austin: School of Journalism, Assistant Professor UT Center for Media Engagement, Program Director
Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and the Department of Sociology (by courtesy), University of Texas at Austin