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

Forthcoming

This Live Research Review is scheduled for publication in the coming months. In the meantime, you can find articles related to this topic in our Citation Library.

Teaching & Learning

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

Latest News on How Misinformation Spreads

Fake news was widely cited as a problem during the 2016 US election, but a new analysis suggests that, at least in that country, it may not affect public opinion as much as has been suggested. Duncan Watts at the University of Pennsylvania and his colleagues analysed the daily media consumption habits of people in the […]

On March 11, 2020 Twitter shared with the Stanford Internet Observatory accounts and tweets associated with five distinct takedowns. These include: Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt: 5,350 accounts and 36,523,977 tweets. The removed accounts were linked both to a September 2019 takedown of accounts linked to DotDev, a digital marketing firm operating out of Egypt […]

When medical authorities in China claimed they’d cured more than 750 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, using pseudoscience, one major British newspaper made sure there was space for China’s party line on the story. “Traditional Chinese medicine ‘helps fight coronavirus,’” declared the March 3 headline, in the online version of the […]

Top social media companies are adopting stricter rules to limit scams and thwart misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic. But posts continue to surface that violate them — underscoring how the companies are engaged in an infinite game of whack-a-mole that’s tough to win.  A page with more than 1,200 followers was peddling N95 masks on […]

Fox News host Laura Ingraham has deleted a tweet touting an unproven coronavirus treatment that a Twitter spokesperson said today ran afoul of its rules against misleading health information. Ingraham earlier this month tweeted praise for hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug championed by President Donald Trump as a potential treatment for the virus, despite little evidence […]

Featured Scholars

Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and the Department of Sociology (by courtesy), University of Texas at Austin
Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University
Harvard Law School, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society