Wedge Issues

Some disinformation is obviously political, such as that targeting opposing parties. But other disinformation campaigns attempt to take political advantage of other rifts in societies, such as those rooted in ethnicity, religion, social class, and other markers of identity. This literature explores case studies on those wedge issues, including climate change, U.S. race tensions, and the anti-vaccine movement. 

Live Research Reviews

As the effects of climate change continue to worsen, so does the ideological polarization around this issue which has caused an increase in climate denialism. With the evolution of social media and the internet sharing mis- and disinformation, conspiracy theories, echo chambers, and ideological entrenchment has only furthered disbelief in climate change over the last 50 years. This literature review points to the causes of how climate information has been misused and guides us towards next steps in combatting not only climate change but climate change denial.

The pandemic moment has unleashed contagions of stigmatization and health misinformation, compounding the adverse health and socioeconomic effects of Covid-19 on marginalized communities. In this Live Research Review, Jonathan Corpus Ong discusses emerging findings on racially targeted disinformation and opportunistic legislation.

Vaccine refusal poses a major public health risk, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though vaccines are safe and effective, there have been undercurrents of distrust for decades. However, the affordances of interactive media have allowed hesitant parents to encounter misinformation, and producers of anti-vaccine disinformation to reach new audiences.

Teaching & Learning

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

Latest News on Wedge Issues

Political actors and individuals who deny the reality of human-caused climate change are a minority with an outsized ability to shape domestic climate science, policy, and communications. This literature review traces the development of climate change denial from its beginnings in conservative organizations and the energy industry in the mid-20th century, and shows how the […]

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — By now it’s as predictable as the calls for thoughts and prayers: A mass shooting leaves many dead, and wild conspiracy theories and misinformation about the carnage soon follow. It happened after Sandy Hook , after Parkland , after the Orlando nightclub shooting and after the deadly rampage earlier this month […]

Not long after Russia steamrolled into South Ossetia in 2008, effectively annexing the territory of its southern neighbor, a group of Georgians banded together to set up a new Russian-language television station, a voice independent of the Kremlin: Kanal PIK. With the help of Georgia’s public broadcaster, they signed a five-year deal with French satellite operator […]

Brazilians know all about fake news. Digital hucksters have attacked the integrity of Brazil’s electronic voting system, baselessly accused adversaries of “teaching” homosexuality in the classroom and promoted faith-based covid-19 treatments, all with a nod and a wink from the presidential palace. Now the social media mobs, with the blessings of Brazil’s “cabinet of hate,” are trolling the world’s largest tropical […]

In June 2021, Alita, a trans woman living in Saudi Arabia, saw a hashtag trending on Twitter that translated roughly to “a space for hatred of religion.” In a Twitter Spaces audio room days earlier, Alita, who asked Rest of World to use her screen name for her safety, had spoken frankly about atheism and […]

Featured Scholars

Critica, CEO & Co-Founder
Presidential Associate Professor, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Harvard Kennedy School, Technology and Social Change Research Project
Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and the Department of Sociology (by courtesy), University of Texas at Austin