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.

Latest News on Contexts of Misinformation

Over the past four years, Facebook has made a big show of demonstrating how much it cares about democracy and how much it’s doing to combat election interference or fake news. It has assembled “war rooms” and published white papers. It has hired thousands of content moderators (as in, they’re looking at content; they’re actually […]

The students sit at desks in groups of four, watching videos about the recent bush fires in Australia. One shows an apocalyptic landscape in flames, the other a tourist paradise, with assurances that much of the continent is safe. Instead of dismissing both as fake news, the eighth graders know what questions to ask to […]

Last September, an image of a New York Times headline began circulating online, claiming that Abdullah Abdullah, a candidate for the Afghan presidency, had taken millions of dollars from Pakistan. Though the Times never published such a story, the convincing fake image—complete with the font and website design—exploited longstanding divisions in Afghan politics during a closely contested […]

People are often incredibly wrong about key social and political realities in their countries, as I explore in my book, Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything, which draws on over 100,000 interviews across up to 40 nations, including the U.S.. For example, people in the U.S. think that 24 percent of teenage girls give birth […]

Trump is kicking the Democrats’ asses. For decades, the theory of communications that undergirded politics was: Politician says something → press covers it → public reads or watches the press’ account of what the politician said. The results of the 2016 election should make it crystal clear that approach is antiquated at best. Political campaigns […]

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Featured Scholars

Harvard Law School, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society
University of Kansas
Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Associate Professor, Sociology, Tufts University