Contexts of Misinformation

Dis- and misinformation are not created and spread in a vacuum. While concerns over information quality have rocketed to prominence in recent years, those concerns have been fueled by political, social, and technological changes decades in the making. We address some of the contexts of misinformation, beginning with political polarization, and the twin concepts of echo chambers and filter bubbles. 

Live Research Review

Terms such as “fake news,” misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, polarization, and networked harassment have rocketed to prominence in recent years. This literature review addresses some of the contexts of misinformation, beginning with political polarization and the twin concepts of ideological echo chambers and filter bubbles.

Teaching & Learning

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

Latest News on Contexts of Misinformation

Late Thursday, the Washington Post landed what looked like a big scoop: the paper obtained an unpublished slide presentation from inside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting that the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads as easily as chickenpox, and that fully vaccinated people who become infected with the variant may be able […]

As the drummer of the Indonesian punk band Superman Is Dead, I Gede Ari Astina, better known as Jerinx, always relished making headlines for rebellious acts. His most recent, and most controversial: becoming one of Indonesia’s leading anti-vaxxers. “Those who don’t believe that this covid is just a business scheme may still believe that America […]

The most visible vaccine-skeptical public figures, the likes of Tucker Carlson or Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), understand this. They don’t need to spread demonstrable falsehoods. They can simply focus night after night on outlier cases of severe side effects. Or they can selectively present results of scientific studies or government communications in ways that seem […]

We examine potential bias in Facebook’s 10-trillion cell URLs dataset, consisting of URLs shared on its platform and their engagement metrics. Despite the unprecedented size of the dataset, it was altered to protect user privacy in two ways: 1) by adding differentially private noise to engagement counts, and 2) by censoring the data with a […]

Since the coronavirus pandemic erupted last year, PolitiFact has fact-checked hundreds of misleading statements about the development, deployment, content, safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Even as the U.S. sees a rise in cases among unvaccinated populations, the unsupported claims keep coming. False narratives that the vaccines are mandatory and that they result in widespread death more […]

Featured Scholars

Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University
Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dartmouth College
University of Texas-Austin: School of Journalism, Assistant Professor UT Center for Media Engagement, Program Director