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 last week, the world started to hear about a new coronavirus variant that had already started to worry scientists: B.1.1.529, which was first detected in southern Africa earlier this month. On Friday, the World Health Organization noted the variant’s very high number of mutations, declared it to be “of concern,” and christened it “Omicron,” […]

Fall 2021 has been filled with a steady stream of media coverage arguing that Meta’s Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram social media platforms pose a threat to users’ mental health and well-being, radicalize, polarize users and spread misinformation. Are these technologies – embraced by billions – killing people and eroding democracy? Or is this just another […]

Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, appears to have called QAnon “total nonsense” and a “disinformation campaign” created by the CIA and the political left – despite his own extensive links to the conspiracy theory and seeming eagerness to serve as its hero. Flynn’s apparent statement was revealed by Lin Wood, a pro-Trump […]

On Friday afternoons this fall, top American news executives have dialed into a series of off-the-record Zoom meetings led by Harvard academics whose goal is to “help newsroom leaders fight misinformation and media manipulation.” Those are hot topics in the news industry right now, and so the program at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, […]

Dutta (name changed) is 75 years old and lives in a middle-class residential cluster in South Delhi. Throughout, his phone was flooded with WhatsApp messages on how to fight the COVID-19 pandemic: from the use of hydroxychloroquine – the anti-malarial drug – to drinking garlic in hot water to drinking cow urine. A former defence […]

Featured Scholars

Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University
University of Texas-Austin: School of Journalism, Assistant Professor UT Center for Media Engagement, Program Director
Associate Professor, Sociology, Tufts University