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

The proliferation of social media has allowed the antivaccine movement to become more influential than at any point in history. Earlier studies have demonstrated that social media platforms such as Pinterest and Twitter are filled with antivaccine information. The consumption of antivaccine social media content could negatively impact vaccine attitudes and consequently vaccine uptake. Furthermore, […]

POSTDOCTORAL ASSOCIATE, Political Science, to join Adam Berinsky (Political Science) and David Rand (Sloan School of Management, Brain & Cognitive Sciences) in working on an NSF-Funded project (Integrating Political Science and Cognitive Science to Meet the Challenge of Promoting Accurate Information on Social Media) that seeks to integrate political science and cognitive science to understand […]

The principle that “anyone can edit” Wikipedia has been foundational to the massive success of the nearly entirely volunteer-driven encyclopedia. With its first edit on January 15, 2001, the English Wikipedia website has averaged around 300 million pageviews per day over the past two years as people use the site to research everything from political […]

No one was safe from their anger. White nationalist Proud Boys users on Telegram called the U.S. Capitol Police “f—ing coward[s]” while others livestreamed themselves running amok in the halls of Congress to their loyal online fanbases. Others were captured on video calling the police “traitors” and “pigs,” threatening their deaths. False rumors flew that […]

On January 6, chaos descended on Washington D.C. as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol Building. Amid the melee, a longtime QAnon promoter known as “the Q Shaman” made his way onto the Senate floor and occupied the speaker’s rostrum. He was far from the only QAnon supporter on the scene […]

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Featured Scholars

Robertson Professor of Media Studies and Director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia
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