On 9/11, lawmakers from both parties unified in their response. Just over 20 years later, Congress is distinctly partisan, clashing on everything from the January 6 insurrection to COVID to climate change. Why? Many blame widespread and widely believed misinformation and disinformation. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Boleslaw Szymanski, Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, is part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers examining the flow of (mis)information in social media.
Schoolchildren huddled in Uvalde, Tex. classrooms as classmates and teachers are cut down by a rogue gunman. A peaceful weekend afternoon at a Buffalo, N.Y. grocery store interrupted by a white supremacist who sprays the aisles of elderly, predominantly African American weekend shoppers with an AR-15 style rifle. Only five months into the year, these attacks tallied as the 198th and 214th U.
Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have identified specific elements of tone and style in online speech that are linked to hyperpartisan echo chambers. These language markers could also prove useful for flagging spaces where disinformation may be likely to emerge.
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, as false health information spread on social media, the number of children and teens poisoned with hand sanitizer or alcoholic beverages surged in Iran. These poisonings resulted in hundreds of hospitalizations and 22 deaths. Misinformation circulating on social media included the false suggestion that consuming alcohol (methanol) or hand sanitizer (ethanol or isopropyl alcohol) protected against COVID-19 infection (it does not). A major alcohol poisoning outbreak sickened nearly 6,000 Iranian adults, of whom 800 died. It was not known, however, to what extent children and adolescents were affected. For the study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, investigators compared pediatric hospitalizations for ethanol and methanol poisoning during the early COVID-19 pandemic in Iran with the same period the previous year. They also looked at types of exposure and how those were linked to the children’s ages and clinical outcomes.
The Federation of State Medical Boards’ Board of Directors released statement in response to a dramatic increase in the dissemination of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and disinformation by physicians and other health care professionals on social media platforms, online and in the media.
This study investigates how successful Russian Internet Research Agency Twitter accounts built the followings that were central to their disinformation campaigns around the 2016 US presidential election. Many legacy media outlets played an unwitting role in the growth, according to the findings.
People tend to think of the arena of politics as being driven by human decision and emotions, and therefore unpredictable. But network scientists like Boleslaw Szymanski, a computer science professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, have found that the country’s political…
The use and spread of disinformation—false or misleading information intended to deceive people—is being amplified and accelerated at an alarming rate on the internet via social media. In a white paper for the Computing Research Association’s (CRA) Computing Community Consortium (CCC), researchers from Columbia Engineering, the Santa Fe Institute, the University of Colorado, and Arizona State University outline steps to begin dealing with the disinformation problem.
Staying current with reliable news about subjects like election security, pandemic mask effectiveness and vaccine safety is an overwhelming prospect for most people. Few can follow the scientific journals and reputable — though competing — opinions in national news outlets.…
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday about actions their companies have taken to stem the spread of misinformation in the lead up to and following the U.S. election.…
Anticipation is mounting around the possible spread of disinformation on social media channels in the lead up to Tuesday’s presidential election and following the closing of polls. Alexandra Cirone is a professor of government at Cornell University who teaches a…
To get expert opinions on the fate of the nearly 245-year-old democracy, a group of students from Notre Dame conducted a survey and a path selection game with 150 members of political science professional associations who specialize in elections.
As America’s general election looms, Tim Weninger, the Frank M. Friemann Collegiate Associate Professor of Engineering at Notre Dame, discusses the current state of social media, the dangers of disinformation and how users can get smarter about what they share.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at limiting the broad legal protections enjoyed by social media companies after Twitter flagged his posts as being incendiary and misleading. Experts weigh in on whether social media platforms should be responsible for fact-checking.
Kristy Roschke is the managing director of News Co/Lab, and she offers remedies for readers who want to stay media literate.