How Misinformation Spreads

Among the more worrisome aspects of dis- and misinformation in the digital age are the number of people it can reach in a short time, and the persistent recurrence of its narratives in online spaces. What facilitates its spread on social media? How do traditional media amplify disinformation? This collection addresses scholarship on network effects and individual behaviors in spreading misinformation. 

Live Research Review

What are the factors that cause misinformation to spread? To answer this question, researchers have focused on two broad areas. One is the social and psychological characteristics of audience members who decide what to consume and share. Another is the social media networks themselves, and the technologies that encourage and discourage user behaviors.

Teaching & Learning

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

Latest News on How Misinformation Spreads

A new trend circulating on TikTok is further contributing to the anti-vaccination extremism and the rapid spread of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Crooks and Liars, the hashtag #PureBlood shows that supporters of the far-right are not only “unable to distinguish between J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter wizarding world and their own, but simultaneously appear […]

On September 11, Björn Höcke, an influential state-level leader for the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland, took the stage at a campaign event in the small city of Burgstädt in Saxony. He began his speech with the kind of universal appeal politicians often make in the final weeks before a big election, encouraging supporters to […]

As Covid-19 cases in Peru rose rapidly during the early months of the pandemic, public interest in the drug ivermectin surged. Misleading information suggesting the drug, used to treat parasites in humans and livestock, had been proven effective against coronavirus reached many Peruvians online, doctors told the Guardian. With vaccines still in development, desperate physicians […]

Google Fonts   Earlier this month, Dr. Rashid Buttar posted on Twitter that COVID-19 “was a planned operation” and shared an article alleging that most people who got vaccinated against the coronavirus would be dead by 2025. His tweets are a recent addition to a steady stream of spurious claims about the COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Another example is […]

Preaching to the choir, shouting in an echo chamber — whatever your preferred metaphor is, a study published earlier this week in the Journal of the European Economic Association sheds some light on what may be happening when people are surrounded by others with like-minded views — and especially when they have a tough time […]

Featured Scholars

Harvard Law School, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society
Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and the Department of Sociology (by courtesy), University of Texas at Austin
Executive Director of First Draft News