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

An outrageous conspiracy theory vilifying a political candidate. A meme encouraging shots of bleach to fend off COVID-19. An official-looking post falsely announcing that your polling place has moved. Lies like these seethe on the social media platforms, from Facebook to YouTube to Twitter, where Americans increasingly get their news and information. These companies say […]

Invisible moments of vulnerability are known as data voids: when there are high levels of demand for information on a topic, but low levels of credible supply. Data voids were first defined by Michael Golebiewski and danah boyd in 2019, and describe vulnerabilities that emerge from search engines like Google. When it comes to data […]

An internal investigation by Facebook has uncovered thousands of groups and pages, with millions of members and followers, that support the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to internal company documents reviewed by NBC News. The investigation’s preliminary results, which were provided to NBC News by a Facebook employee, shed new light on the scope of activity […]

Legal and regulatory protections in cyberspace have not kept up with the times. They are better suited to the internet of the past than the present. Today’s dependence on the internet has thrust society into a new era, making effective public protections critical for a healthy cyberspace. The COVID-19 pandemic has made cyberspace critical infrastructure. […]

Everyone needs access to credible information during a pandemic. Without it, people die. We are especially vulnerable when we want to know something — such as how to treat Covid-19 — but no credible information exists. At the beginning of the pandemic, confusion about symptoms, causes and treatments reined. Viral posts claimed a runny nose […]

Featured Scholars

University of North Carolina
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
Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University