Hero - In the news

In the News

IDDP in the News

IDDP in the News


Partisans, media quick to blame racism for California shooting despite no evidence

NewsNation spoke to Frank Sesno about speculation and pushing agendas during tragedies.

U.S. Is Giving Russia ‘Sanctuary’ From Long-Range Strikes: Ex-U.S. General

A former U.S. military official is questioning why the United States is allowing Russia to fire missiles into Ukraine seemingly at will.


Zelenskyy's trip to the U.S. was 'historic,' professor says

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine visited Washington D.C. on Wednesday for his first-known international trip since Russia invaded.

The Atlantic

This Is What It Looks Like When Twitter Falls Apart

Elon Musk hasn’t finished his drama yet.
The Atlantic

Money Will Kill ChatGPT’s Magic

Buzzy products like ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 will have to turn a profit eventually.
The Hill

Liberals struggle to find viable Twitter alternative after Musk takeover

Elon Musk’s conquest of the Twitter-verse has sent hordes of mostly left-leaning tweeters scrambling — if not for the exits, then at least for a social-media backup plan.
Washington Post

Why CBS News held its Brittney Griner scoop for a full week

The first news organization to pin down the news of the WNBA star’s release from a Russian prison agreed to a White House request to delay the story
DC News Now

Buying online? Those deals could come with a price in personal information

As millions of Americans flock online to find holiday deals on gifts, personal data is collected by companies.
Fast Company

Elon Musk’s Kanye West fiasco highlights the content moderation dangers Twitter now faces

Everything is going wrong at just the wrong time for Musk.

Twitter’s Moderation System Is in Tatters

Disinformation researchers have spent years asking Twitter to remove toxic and fake posts. After Elon Musk’s staff cuts, there’s hardly anyone to talk to.
Politico logo

‘I Caught Lightning in a Bottle. I Will Be One of the Last People to Leave Twitter.’

From news media to message-testing to adversary-monitoring, the platform has changed Washington. It won't be easy to go back.
Politico logo

Trump and His Disinfo Brigade Fall Flat

The public may be increasingly immune to political disinformation.
Fast Company

Content moderation experts: Elon Musk is going about policing hate speech on Twitter all wrong

He’s promising a more hands-off, forgiving approach—but will it work?

Celebrities Running for Office

CBS “Saturday Morning’’ spoke to Imani Cheers, associate professor of media and public affairs, about celebrities on the ballot.
Washington Post

With Musk at the helm, tweeting the boss may actually change Twitter

Musk has always been extremely engaged online, responding to Twitter users with followings big and small. But the billionaire is now in charge, and he’s listening.

How Musk’s takeover might change Twitter: what researchers think

Extremists could flock back to the platform under the guise of ‘free speech’ — and researchers are gearing up to study their impact.
The Atlantic

Democrats Keep Falling for ‘Superstar Losers’

Both Abrams and O’Rourke have won some elections, but their name recognition far surpasses their electoral accomplishments.

After Elon Musk’s antics on Twitter, advertisers may think twice for now

Hours before news broke on Thursday that he had completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, Elon Musk wrote an open letter to advertisers stressing that he doesn’t want the platform to become a “free-for-all hellscape.”

Washington Post endorses a Republican

"Dan Abrams Live" spoke to Frank Sesno, director of strategic initiatives in the School of Media and Public Affairs, about the value of newspaper endorsements.

In Polarized 2022 Midterms, US Candidates Find Common Ground Opposing China

As American voters get ready for the midterm elections next month, candidates from both parties are pledging tough policies on China in hopes of wooing voters.

Why Tennessee Republicans are dodging debates and ghosting their opponents this election

Since 1960, televised debates have become a staple in US elections. That was the year when presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon faced off in their first of four televised debates. But that tradition is starting to fade. In Middle Tennessee, there are currently no debates scheduled for any of the congressional races or the governor’s race.
USA Today

Republicans silent as Tuberville's racist remarks on reparations spark outrage

When Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville's promoted a racist narrative about Black people and crime at a campaign rally Saturday, it outraged civil rights leaders and many political pundits, who condemned them as out-of-bounds.
USA Today

Political tensions are growing. What is the state of American democracy?

Democracy feels imperiled in the U.S.with elections questioned, institutions undermined, and norms challenged. Experts spoke to USA TODAY about the situation, how bad it is, and how to address it.

Alex Jones' defamation trials show the limits of deplatforming for a select few

A fresh defamation trial for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that began this week could offer slivers of insight into the effectiveness of "deplatforming" — the booting of undesirable accounts from social media sites.
Not Another Politics Podcast

Can Fact-Checking Counter Misinformation?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an era of misinformation. From social media to cable news, the spread of false or misleading information about COVID vaccines has been rampant. Some social media platforms have moved more aggressively by trying to flag misleading posts with disclaimers. Can fact-checking reduce the spread of misinformation? And perhaps more importantly, can fact-checks change people's minds about getting vaccinated?
Roll Call

Twitter whistleblower unlikely to spur congressional action

EU is setting the pace in legislation for tech platforms.

Shannon Bream Launches New Era at ‘Fox News Sunday’

Shannon Bream will this weekend kick off a new era on “Fox News Sunday,” the jewel of the news side at Fox News Channel, which often gets more attention for its opinion programming. She will be the programs’ first permanent female host and will be the first permanent replacement for Chris Wallace, who burnished his reputation for prosecutorial questioning of newsmakers and politicians over a tenure that lasted just under two decades.

Bernard Shaw, CNN’s 1st chief anchor, dies at 82

Bernard Shaw, former CNN anchor and a pioneering Black journalist remembered for his blunt question at a presidential debate and calmly reporting the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991 from Baghdad as it was under attack, has died. He was 82.
Washington Post

Twitter can’t afford to be one of the world’s most influential websites

A document from whistleblower Peiter Zatko that details the company’s failings in policing misinformation shows what happens when a business model fails.
Washington Post

As Biden warned about democracy’s collapse, TV networks aired reruns

While broadcasters typically air a prime-time address by the president, they determined that this speech was more ‘political’ than newsworthy for live coverage

FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search ignites the right

The FBI’s execution of a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago has driven outsized conservative social media attention, triggering the wide sharing of news stories and driving tens of thousands of new users to former President Trump’s Truth Social app.

Privacy law's hidden roadblock: Americans' beliefs

Americans' conception of privacy itself, as much as a deadlocked Congress, stands in the way of the U.S. adopting a national digital privacy law, experts tell Axios.
Los Angeles Times

As global health threats evolved, the CDC didn’t

Vanquishing disease is in the DNA of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that in its first decade of existence oversaw the eradication of smallpox, the elimination of malaria and the stamping out of polio as threats to Americans’ health.
PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Science of Misinformation

The internet and social media have greatly accelerated the rate at which misinformation spreads. The consequences of misinformation for society have become apparent in recent years.

One of TikTok’s Biggest Stars Roasts Dudes for Their Misogyny, Racism, and Fatphobia

Drew Afualo is using trolls’ tactics against them and giving her 7.5 million followers some laughs.
International Business Times

Covid-19 Misinformation Bolsters Anti-vaccine Movement

More parents are questioning the necessity of routine vaccinations for young children. Adults are skipping shots as well, even for vaccines with a long safety record.
The Arizona Republic

He got booted for discussing climate change. But he's undeterred, with science on his side

Richard Lavallee is a software engineer, Arizonan and former Republican. He says he started to feel overwhelmed by the idea of climate change after years of hearing about burning rainforests and melting glaciers. His daughters also influenced his sense that this was a serious problem.

How partisanship is making polling Americans more complicated

There's something strange about how Americans see the economy these days -- or, at least, how they're describing it to pollsters.

Factual climate change reporting can influence Americans positively, but not for long

Media coverage of climate change can influence Americans to adopt more accurate beliefs about the environment, but the information doesn't stay with them for long, according to a new report.
Fast Company

Inside the good, bad, and very ugly of social media algorithms

There’s a lot to unpack with the current state of social media algorithms. Fast Company’s podcast Creative Conversation explored this topic in three episodes

What Would A Sentient, Conscious Robot Mean For Humans?

A Google engineer claimed an AI software of theirs became sentient. Now there is debate on if these sentient machines have a place in the world.

Trump lawyer John Eastman no longer member of American Political Science Association

John Eastman, a Trump acolyte who advocated overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election, is no longer a member of the American Political Science Association, a representative of the organization said Thursday.
The Guardian

Truthful climate reporting shifts viewpoints, but only briefly, study finds

People’s views of the climate crisis can be influenced by the media, according to new research. But accurate scientific reporting only has limited impact on people who already have a fixed political viewpoint, particularly if it is opposed to climate action.
NBC News

Framing Fatherhood

A photo exhibit by Imani Cheers explores the representation of Black masculinity and fatherhood.

Framing Fatherhood

A new exhibit at George Washington University celebrates Black masculinity and fatherhood, featuring 75 photographs from 14 prominent Black male photographers.
The Hill

How Bowser’s battles with Trump helped her in DC mayor’s race

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) gained national attention in 2020 when she ordered a block of 16th Street leading up to the White House to be emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter” in bright yellow paint.

DC photo exhibit celebrates fatherhood

FOX 5’s Jeannette Reyes has more on "Framing Fatherhood" -- a new collection of images features male photographers from around the country celebrating visions of black masculinity and fatherhood!
New York Times

We’re Staring at Our Phones, Full of Rage for ‘the Other Side’

The internet gives both voice and access to virtually everyone regardless of their status. The surge in small dollar campaign contributions democratizes the financing of elections, lessening the power of the rich. The question, as contemporary developments suggest, is whether these reforms also exacerbate polarization and lead to the escalation of partisan hostility based on moral conviction.
broadway world

'Framing Fatherhood' Photo Exhibit Celebrates Positive Images of Black Men and Boys

The exhibit will showcase over 75 photographs from 14 prominent Black, male photographers from across the country.
Los Angeles Times

Why we need a national day of remembrance for COVID victims

In New York City, a woman opens her laptop to a bar graph showing the number of COVID-19 deaths nationwide each month in 2021 and fixes her gaze on April.


The January 6 committee’s biggest task is getting people to care

The committee’s evidence against Trump could well be damning. It still might not be enough to overcome polarization and public fatigue.
Washington Post

A police news conference in Uvalde leaves ‘gaps and confusion’

Some journalists were baffled by lack of answers two full days after the school shooting massacre: ‘Parents are going to be very frustrated.’
New York Times

The Anti-Vaccine Movement’s New Frontier

The C.D.C. has registered a 1 percentage point drop in childhood vaccinations since the pandemic began. Ninety-four percent of American kindergartners were up to date with their vaccines in the 2020-21 school year, compared with 95 percent the previous year, meaning that not only have vaccinations in this age group fallen below the C.D.C.’s 95 percent target, but also some 35,000 fewer children were vaccinated that year.

How will Indo-Pacific trade announcement impact global economy?

President Joe Biden is taking new steps on global trade. He announced a partnership on Tuesday with a dozen other countries in the Indo-Pacific.
Houston Chronicle

12 Texans in Congress join Sen. Ted Cruz in border ‘invasion’ claims after Buffalo shooting

Texas Republicans are going all in on the “invasion” rhetoric similar to that espoused by gunmen in multiple mass shootings, including the man accused of killing 10 people in a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday.

Some reporters instructed not to speak about Roe v. Wade

"Dan Abrams Live" spoke to Frank Sesno, director of strategic initiatives in the School of Media and Public Affairs, about media transparency.
Washington Post

Twitter lawyer long weighed safety, free speech. Then Musk called her out.

Vijaya Gadde has been targeted by the right as Elon Musk seeks to take over the company. But insiders say she’s not the ‘chief censor’ critics imagine.

Some in media care more about the ‘scoop’ than national security

"Dan Abrams Live” spoke to Frank Sesno, director of strategic initiatives in the School of Media and Public Affairs, about the reporting of intelligence in the war in Ukraine.

The abortion provider that Republicans are struggling to stop

Over the past four years, Aid Access says it has delivered abortion medication — mifepristone and misoprostol — to more than 30,000 Americans across all 50 states, including the 19 conservative states that currently ban telemedicine abortion.

A New Approach to Digital Public Goods Is Gaining Steam

Data is different from other inputs. Researchers in the public and private sectors can reuse troves of data indefinitely without that data losing its value. Individuals can use the same data for multiple purposes. They can create new products or research complex problems. Hence, data is multidimensional. It can simultaneously be a commercial asset and a public good.

What happened to CNN+? Service dropped shortly after debut

The door is being shut on CNN’s paid streaming service CNN+ almost as quickly as it opened. CNN announced the service will end April 30, just weeks after it debuted.
New York Times logo

Trump Poses a Test Democracy Is Failing

Ordinary citizens play a critical role in maintaining democracy. They refuse to re-elect — at least in theory — politicians who abuse their power, break the rules and reject the outcome of elections they lose. How is it, then, that Donald Trump, who has defied these basic presumptions, stands a reasonable chance of winning a second term in 2024?
CNN logo

What the second month of war in Ukraine may bring

Russia's brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has entered its second month with scores of civilians dead, entire communities leveled, and perhaps most troubling, no end in sight.

Facebook unwilling to pay the cost to curb spread of misinformation

The spread of misinformation and disinformation on Facebook has some saying the social network has a negative impact on society.

A war of information: Both sides fight in the Ukraine-Russia conflict

Wartime propaganda has run rampant in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. While Russia’s misinformation has received much attention, Ukraine’s government has also shared misleading content.
BNC truth  Black News Channel

Biden Announces $800M Additional for Ukraine Security Assistance

Black News Channel spoke to Imani Cheers, associate professor of media and public affairs, about the allocation of resources and race.

Dangers faced by media personnel during conflicts

Babak Bahador spoke with Chinedu Offor regarding the dangers faced by media personnel reporting from war zones.
BNC truth  Black News Channel

How Does the Ukraine Conflict Impact African Countries?

Imani Cheers breaks down the relationship between African countries and Russia/Ukraine.
Washington Post

How ‘Z’ became a symbol for supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

A new pro-Russian symbol is emerging as Moscow continues its assault on Ukraine. The insignia is bold, recognizable and — importantly, according to some analysts — can be painted with one stroke: the letter “Z.”

Some in Media Fear-Mongering Over Soaring Gasoline Prices

NewsNation’s “Dan Abrams Now’’ spoke to Frank Sesno, director of strategic initiatives in the School of Media and Public Affairs, about media coverage of rising gas prices.
Dayton 24/7 Now

Is it possible to talk Vladimir Putin off a ledge?

As the war in Ukraine rages on, the world has watched in horror with a collective curiosity around a single question.

Spotting Misinformation Online About Russia/Ukraine Crisis

Fox 5 DC spoke to Rebekah Tromble, director of the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics, about spotting disinformation in wartime.

The West Can Make Russia a Trade Pariah with a Page from Moscow’s Playbook

Policymakers around the world are searching for ways to punish Russian leaders for their aggression in Ukraine. They have generally relied on economic and financial sanctions. But sanctions are an imperfect tool. They can lead to higher prices and limited supplies of various goods and services in the home market, and sanctions may not change the target country’s behavior. A review of U.S. history illuminates an alternative approach, one that may attract the support of other nations.
KCBS Radio

Fake photos and footage spread across social media as conflict in Ukraine erupts

When Russia launched an attack on Ukraine earlier this week, people around the world watched in shock and horror as airstrikes hit the country and tanks began rolling in. But in the last few days, it's become clear that while some of the footage and images being disseminated across social media are depicting the tragic beginnings of a new war, some are not actually what they appear.

Federal Judge More Concerned with the Spotlight Than Doing His Job.

News Nation’s “Dan Abrams Live’’ spoke to Frank Sesno, director of strategic initiatives in the School of Media and Public Affairs, about the outcome of Sarah Palin vs. The New York Times.
The Well News

Facebook Corrections Found to Reduce Misinformation

Fact-checks added to posts on a Facebook news feed were found to reduce users’ acceptance of misinformation on the platform, according to a new study published in the Journal of Politics.

‘Cheap fakes’: Viral videos keep clipping Biden’s words out of context

Opponents of President Joe Biden have repeatedly circulated videos that cut his comments short or take his words out of context to leave a misleading impression.
Washington Post

Russia may be about to invade Ukraine. Russians don’t want it to.

What does the Russian public think about armed intervention in Ukraine? This question is important. Even though Russia is an autocracy, its leaders pay attention to public sentiment. Our new polling data suggests that invading Ukraine could be a difficult sell within Russia.

The Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ is backed by a Bangladeshi marketing firm and right-wing fringe groups

As American politicians call for stateside convoys, a Grid investigation finds signs that foreign actors, QAnon and hate pervade the movement’s support.
CNN logo

Peter Thiel is backing a new generation of Trump-aligned Republicans

Peter Thiel, the controversial billionaire tech founder and investor, has used his fortune to encourage kids to skip college, to back a lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker Media and to donate to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump when many in Silicon Valley were strongly opposed to him.

Ukrainian Professors on Tensions with Russia

Ukrainian professors, from the U.S. and in the country itself, examined the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the implications if Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to invade. The Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS Eurasia) at George Washington University hosted the virtual conversation.

Does banning extremists online work? It depends.

Social media bans can make it harder to recruit new followers, but existing supporters can become more toxic.
WJLA 24/7 News

Rogan backlash raising questions about changing face of misinformation

There is continued backlash against podcaster Joe Rogan for including doctors on his show who have cast doubt on the need for people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Should Tech Giants be in the Deplatforming Business?

Frank Sesno, the director of strategic initiatives at George Washington University’s School of Media & Public Affairs, joins the show to talk about how tech companies should deal with COVID misinformation.
Nieman Lab

Does having stronger local newspapers make people more likely to follow COVID safety guidelines? Er, not so much

A new study finds that the more local newspapers there were in a county, the worse it performed on a measure of social distancing in the early days of the pandemic. But take the findings with a grain of salt.
The Hill

New study investigates early claims of COVID-19 'infodemic'

“When you compare it to what was going on before the pandemic, you start to see that health misinformation was already widespread.”

Can fact-checking solve the misinformation pandemic?

Fact-checking is presented as the antidote to misinformation, but it’s not a silver bullet.

Kicked off Facebook and Twitter, far-right groups lose online clout

It's been called the Great Deplatforming. In the hours and days after the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube kicked off then-President Donald Trump as well as many involved in planning the attack.
The New Yorker

Dan Bongino and the Big Business of Returning Trump to Power

Dan Bongino, one of America’s most popular conservative commentators, lives in the seaside city of Stuart, Florida, less than an hour from Mar-a-Lago, where his friend Donald Trump bridles ag

Nieman Lab

We’ll recognize the harassment of journalists isn’t an individual problem

The information ecosystem journalists operate in today necessitates an updated understanding of professional danger — one that includes the risks of online harassment.

How a Kennedy built an anti-vaccine juggernaut amid COVID-19

An investigation by The Associated Press finds that Children’s Health Defense has raked in funding and followers as Kennedy used his star power as a member of one of America’s most famous families to open doors, raise money and lend his group credibility.

This Threat to Democracy Is Made in America. Biden’s Summit Won’t Fix It.

At the behest of the U.S., representatives of 100 nations will gather online to examine how they can sustain democracy. The Summit for Democracy has a packed agenda but ignores a major threat: Firms in the U.S. and elsewhere use large troves of personal data to manipulate our behavior, which is directly and indirectly endangering our autonomy, human rights, and democracy.
FT Financial Times

Investigating Facebook: a fractious relationship with academia

Last March, Orestis Papakyriakopoulos, a researcher at Princeton University, applied to use a special data access tool that allows academics to do research on Facebook.


Operational transparency increases trust, support of government

As multiple published reports indicate, trust in government has reached historic lows and frustration with government performance has reached record highs.

Washington Post

Fact checks actually work, even on Facebook. But not enough people see them.

If you listen to Facebook defend itself, its argument boils down to the following: We’re doing our best.

The Atlantic

Nobody Can See Into Facebook

Imagine if automakers were the only ones who could test their cars—and they kept the results secret.
Local 12 WKRC Cincinnati

Trump wants his media company to rival Twitter, Netflix and Amazon

It may have sounded like an empty threat after a bitter feud with the Big Tech giants, but former President Donald Trump announced that he would soon launch a media network to rival the "liberal media" and "fight back against" the Big Tech platforms that banned him earlier this year.
BNC truth  Black News Channel

Has Reality TV Done More Good Than Bad for Black People?

Dr. Imani Cheers, and business and political consultant Tara Dowdell weigh in on what impact reality TV has had on perceptions of Black women and more.

Can Twitter Get Us to Be Nice?

Social networks are designed to make us angry and keep us coming back for more. Now, one of the worst offenders is trying to be less of a dumpster fire.

In the Data-Driven Economy, the Law of the Jungle Rules

Almost every day we get a reminder that the Internet is both wondrous and a dark and scary place. An important one came when we learned that a judge in the United Kingdom found that the ruler of Dubai hacked the phone of his ex-wife and her lawyers in an unlawful abuse of power.
Washington Post

Technology 202 newsletter

Facebook’s admission that a data set it provided to social scientists had serious errors has prompted outrage from some academics and observers.

Columbia Journalism Review

How a story about ivermectin and hospital beds went wrong

From August 2020 to January, news publishers known for putting out misinformation “got six times the amount of likes, shares, and interactions on the platform as did trustworthy news sources, such as CNN or the World Health Organization,” the Washington Post reported, based on a peer-reviewed study done by a group of researchers at NYU
Washington Post

Misinformation on Facebook got six times more clicks than factual news during the 2020 election, study says

A new study of user behavior on Facebook around the 2020 election is likely to bolster critics’ long-standing arguments that the company’s algorithms fuel the spread of misinformation over more trustworthy sources.
Washington Post

Only Facebook knows the extent of its misinformation problem. And it’s not sharing, even with the White House.

In tense meetings between Facebook executives and White House officials tasked with fighting the pandemic in recent months, Biden’s team begged the social network giant for something only Facebook possessed: its data.

How an Obscure Green Bay Packers Site Became the Biggest Thing on Facebook

That fact is one of several bizarre data points to emerge from Facebook’s first-ever “Widely Viewed Content Report.” The document is apparently an attempt to push back against the narrative that the platform is overrun with misinformation, fake news, and political extremism.
Columbia Journalism Review

Facebook’s excuses for shutting down research ring hollow

Last week, Facebook shut down the personal accounts of several researchers affiliated with New York University. It said that their work—including a browser extension called Ad Observer, which allows users to share the ads that they are shown in their Facebook news feeds—violated the social network’s privacy policies.
Spectrum News 1

How a mysterious social justice group roiled a Dallas community

The letters addressed to white parents of Highland Park Independent School District students arrived by FedEx in mid-July. Sent by Dallas Justice Now, the language on the letters was extreme: If you are a parent of a white student, pledge not to let your child apply to or attend Ivy League schools so that a student of color may have the admissions spot.
Columbia Journalism Review

Facebook shuts down research, blames user privacy rules

Last October, Facebook warned a group of social scientists from New York University that their research—known as the Ad Observatory, part of the Cybersecurity for Democracy Project—was in breach of the social network’s terms of service. It said the group used software to “scrape” information from Facebook without the consent of users.

To combat disinformation, centralize moderation

In addition to interplatform collaboration, big tech companies would also benefit from greater collaboration with academic researchers, government agencies or other private entities. New perspectives and ways of thinking will ultimately lead to more effective strategies.
Washington Post

15 million people in the U.S. have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, CDC says

Nearly 15 million people — or more than one in 10 of those eligible in the United States — have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Politics of Who You Know

In this episode of Horns of a Dilemma, Henry Hale, professor of political science and international relations at George Washington University, gives a talk about the evolution of power structures in post-Soviet Eurasia. Hale focuses on the concept of “patronalism,” the idea that political power is distributed and wielded by networks that are connected by personal acquaintances and lead by a single powerful patron.

Anti-vaccine movements shift their target to the vaccinated

Myths around infertility, pregnancy and miscarriages have run rampant in anti-vaccine circles for years — and in the universe of their conspiracy theories, vaccines are often to blame. While variations of such false claims have been part of misinformation campaigns around the COVID-19 vaccines, there has recently been a shift from demonizing the vaccine itself to villainizing those who are vaccinated.

The Gig Economy’s Business Model Is a Racial Justice Issue

As gig economy companies have spent the last year pushing legislation in various states exempting them from following labor and antitrust laws, they’ve also experimented with rhetoric claiming a commitment to racial justice.

What the Boogaloo Bois and ISIS Have in Common

On the face of things, ISIS and the Boogaloo Bois don’t really have much in common at all. But researchers at George Washington University say they’ve identified one similarity between the two movements, and it has something to do with a mathematical equation.
Science Focus The Home of BBC Science Focus Magazine

How a “new kind of physics” could track down extremists online

When online extremist groups get broken up by the authorities, its members just regroup elsewhere. Here’s how one physics professor thinks we could end this game of digital whack-a-mole once and for all.

Study: Online support for extremist groups Boogaloo, IS evolved in similar ways

New analysis suggests online support for extremists groups, including the Boogaloos and the Islamic State, or IS, emerges and evolves in similar ways.
Science Focus The Home of BBC Science Focus Magazine

How to make the internet great again… according to the experts

Is it time to reboot the web? Digital experts – including the web's creator, Tim Berners-Lee – reveal how we can get the internet back to its honourable roots.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on truth, objectivity and the assault on democracy

There’s a real problem facing journalism today: the unprecedented assault in our democracies on the truth, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour shared during the last day of the United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking. Social media has only made it worse in what she described as a massively polarized world.
The Boston Globe

Pop-up sites and door-knocking are new tactics in the quest to reach the unvaccinated

Now it’s all about the ground game. With more than 2.7 million Massachusetts residents fully vaccinated and the pace of COVID-19 shots slowing markedly, state officials are stepping up efforts to reach the holdouts.
American Public Health Association

Why Debunking Misinformation Is Not Enough to Change People’s Minds About Vaccines

One of the strongest underlying drivers that determines whether individuals or groups are vaccine confident or vaccine hesitant is the level of trust—or distrust—in the individuals and institutions that discover, develop, and deliver vaccines.
American Public Health Association

“First Do No Harm”: Effective Communication About COVID-19 Vaccines

With effective COVID-19 vaccines in hand, we must now address the spread of information on social media that might encourage vaccine hesitancy.

Vaccine-hesitant, vaccine refusers and anti-vaxxers: There's a spectrum, and the differences matter

Each day millions of people are getting their COVID-19 vaccines. More than 40 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 25 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Despite this progress, public officials are concerned that the country is on the precipice of a new challenge — one in which supply of the vaccine will outweigh demand for it.
WJLA 24/7 News

COVID-19 politics get heated in Jordan-Fauci clash over public health vs. freedoms

The political debate over civil liberties and the public health response to COVID-19 boiled over Thursday in a heated exchange between the country's top infectious diseases expert and Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.
The Atlantic

The Rural Pandemic Isn’t Ending

Americans will soon begin to fall back into the rhythms of pre-pandemic life—attending sunny summer weddings, squishing into booths at chain restaurants, laughing together at movies on the big screen—and it will feel like a victory over the coronavirus. But the virus might not actually be gone.

Combatting communication issues after CDC pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration

With the CDC and FDA recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, scientists and communication specialists say that how this message is delivered is equally as important as the message itself.
New York Times logo

Enter the Age of the Vaccine Selfie

Someday, when the history of the pandemic is written, it may be a narrative told partly in images: the despair of crowded hospitals and body bags, the fear and isolation of the masks. And then the balm of a smiling individual, one sleeve rolled up practically to the collarbone, with a medical worker poised to jab a needle into their upper arm. Log in to any social platform, and the picture — not to mention The Pose — is almost impossible to miss. The vaccine selfie has gone viral.
Pembroke Observer & News

AstraZeneca COVID shots could test Canadians' vaccine hesitancy: 'There is no way they can downplay that risk'

Canadians’ hesitancy toward COVID-19 vaccines had been softening in recent months. According to polling by the Angus Reid Institute, 66 per cent of 1,748 Canadians sampled in the first week of March said they would get a vaccine as soon as they’re eligible rather than take a wait-and-see-approach, up from 39 per cent in September. “The overall number of Canadians who say they will not be vaccinated,” the pollster reported, “remained stabled, at 12 per cent.”
CNN logo

House Lawmakers Question Tech Execs On Online Misinformation

CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield spoke to Frank Sesno, director of strategic initiatives in the School of Media and Public Affairs and IDDP's co-PI, about curbing the online spread of misinformation.
Science Magazine logo

Volatility of vaccine confidence

Last week, the European Medicines Agency declared the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective, after several European Union member states had suspended its use because of blood clot concerns. Will the public trust this message? This week's news could help—a U.S. phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine shows promising efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19. But sentiments toward vaccines are volatile and reflect external events—such as recent concern about AstraZeneca's efficacy data—as well as internal emotions.

Platforms vs. PhDs: How tech giants court and crush the people who study them

Laura Edelson is the co-creator of Ad Observer, a browser extension that collects data on who political advertisers are targeting on Facebook. Facebook told me that one reason it was ordering Edelson to shut down Ad Observer was that it had violated Facebook's policies by scraping data from users who had never consented to have their information collected. Facebook said the Ad Observer team was publishing that information, too, for anyone to download.
Spectrum News 1

N.C. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill: Who Has Not Been Vaccinated for COVID-19?

Recent polls show that Republicans in particular appear to be more hesitant than some of their Democratic counterparts when it comes to getting inoculated.

Facebook is doing its best to counter anti-vaccination damage done by Facebook

On Monday, Facebook revealed a plan aimed at getting 50 million people vaccinated, the latest in a string of efforts by the social media company to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and the misinformation that has thrived on its platform. The campaign follows years of criticism directed at Facebook for not doing enough to fight the dangers of the anti-vaccination movement.
Democracy Works The McCourtney Institute for Democracy

Reimagining citizenship in a consumer world

"The Consumer Citizen" by Ethan Porter generated more discussion among the Democracy Works team than any book we've read recently. Tune in to hear why.
The Rally The intersection of politics and pop culture

The Future of Politics on Twitter

Politics-related tweets, especially those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, have boosted Twitter’s user numbers. The company’s new challenge is to gain users it will not have to boot for spreading misinformation.
Washington Post

Americans have started leaving home even more than before the pandemic, cellphone data shows

Americans have begun leaving home more often than before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, reflecting a pent-up desire to venture out as new cases have declined, according to University of Maryland researchers tracking the movement of cellphones.
USA Today

'We are going to have to save ourselves,' Black community fights deadly COVID vaccine conspiracy theories

It’s taking on something just as dangerous and more insidious: viral misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines that is contributing to Black Americans getting vaccinated at a much lower rate than white Americans.

How anti-vax rhetoric sneaks past Instagram’s content moderation system

In March 2019, long before the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook announced that it would take steps to "combat vaccine misinformation" on its platforms Facebook and Instagram. The move was somewhat strategic: since the 2016 US presidential election when it was accused of being used to disseminate election propaganda, the social media platform has been more vigilant about the public perception that it has any role in propagating misinformation, whether electoral or public health-related. The platform faced scrutiny in 2019 over its role in helping anti-vaccination movements proliferate — movements which were having an effect on global public health, and which likely led to the announcement. 

Facebook is finally cracking down hard on anti-vaccine content. It is facing an uphill battle.

Facebook critics say the anti-vaccination communities that have flourished on the platform are fueling Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy.
National Press Foundation

The Truth About Fact Checking

Even in Polarized Times, Fact Checking Can Sway Opinion and Eliminate Misinformation

The Republican revolt against democracy, explained in 13 charts

The Trump years revealed a dark truth: The Republican Party is no longer committed to democracy. These charts tell the story.

Sexist AI is Even More Sexist Than We Thought

A new study shows bias is deeply ingrained in algorithmic models, generating sexualized images of women while creating professional images of men.
The Boston Globe

Can the Republican Party rein in the conspiracies? Here’s what its history says

This widening ideological rift is the story of today’s GOP, but it is much older than that. For as long as there has been a Republican Party, it has had a conspiratorial strain. Often, it has flowed on currents of conservative populism, racism, fear of Black racial progress, and resentment over a dwindling white middle class, historians and political analysts said. Yet, history provides no real playbook for McConnell and other Republican leaders to stem the tide as they battle with rank-and-file members over the party’s direction.
The Markup

Trump’s False Posts Were Treated with Kid Gloves by Facebook

As users drifted through Facebook in the aftermath of the presidential election, they may have run across a satirical article about the Nashville bombing in December. Playing off conspiracies about COVID-19 death diagnoses, a viral photo jokingly suggested the bomber had “died from COVID-19 shortly after blowing himself up.”
Christian Science Monitor

After a ‘post truth’ presidency, can America make facts real again?

American discourse has gone from “you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts” to an embrace of falsehoods that one observer dubs a “national reality disorder.” Scientists say the journey back is difficult but possible.
WJLA 24/7 News

Impact of President Trump's Ban From Social Sites

Professor Neil Johnson was interviewed regarding President Trump being banned from Facebook and Twitter.

Social media companies are already losing the vaccine misinformation fight

Social media companies like Facebook and YouTube have ramped up their policies against coronavirus misinformation and banned false claims about Covid-19 vaccines. But as distribution of the vaccines begin, online accounts are exploiting loopholes in new policies and successfully sharing misleading claims that attempt to discourage vaccination.
NBC News

Covid vaccine and mask conspiracies succeed when they appeal to identity and ideology

Playing to a person’s personal identity — that is, how they view themselves and how they want others to see them — has always played a role in the uptake and spread of health misinformation. It is, for instance, a foundational marketing strategy of the wellness industry. Wellness gurus and celebrity lifestyle companies push potions (unproven supplements), products (crystals, vagina eggs), and ideas (energy healing, cleansing) that fit the vibe of their brand and their consumer’s expectations — science and evidence be damned.
Washington Post

Vaccine hoaxes are rampant on social media. Here’s how to spot them.

Front-line health workers in the United States begun receiving coronavirus vaccines. But on social media, false theories about the vaccines’ dangers and conspiracies about the government’s plans for it are multiplying.
WJLA 24/7 News

Doubts about COVID-19 vaccine spread on social media, threatening effort to end pandemic

There is new hope this holiday season as the first COVID-19 vaccines are given to frontline healthcare workers. Public health experts agree it’s the first step toward defeating the devastating pandemic. But Spotlight on America found there’s still widespread hesitance to get the shot, and experts say social media is playing a major role in shaping public opinion.
The Hill

Fox News confident in face of new rivals from right in Newsmax, OAN

Fox News is facing new competition for conservative viewers from rivals on the right amid a clash with President Trump as he leaves the White House.
USA Today

How the antifa conspiracy theory traveled from the fringe to the floor of Congress

While much of America watched a mob of Trump supporters overrun police and break into the halls of Congress Wednesday afternoon, members of the far right chatted up an imaginary narrative of what was really going on. After weeks of planting the idea, dozens of extremists used social media to promote an idea with no basis in reality – that the people besieging the Capitol were actually far-left agitators disguised as Trump supporters.
Financial Times

UK on high alert for anti-vaccine disinformation from hostile states

British military and civilian teams have been placed on high alert this week due to fears that malicious actors will seek to target UK citizens with disinformation as the country embarks on the world’s first mass immunisation campaign.
USA Today

'We are talking about people’s lives,' dire warnings of public health crisis as COVID vaccine misinformation rages

Hours after Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother from the United Kingdom, became the first person to get the COVID-19 vaccine, anti-vaxxers claimed she didn’t exist, that she was dead and that she was part of a Bill Gates scheme to implant microchips. A USA TODAY analysis of one popular tweet claiming Keenan was a "crisis actress" shows how quickly this misinformation can spread.

On The Media featuring Neil Johnson

WNYC's On The Media featured vaccine misinformation research conducted by Neil Johnson.
Columbia Journalism Review

Facebook will kick out anti-vaccine misinformation. Is it too late?

Facebook pledged to remove misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. This was a meaningful change—previously, falsehoods about vaccines were downranked in its algorithm—but as is always the case with Facebook, there are caveats. Because the vaccines are new, it will likely take time to identify and remove bogus claims about them and, as CNN’s Oliver Darcy pointed out, the new rules leave “a lot of room for bad faith actors to get their points across.
The Boston Globe

The GOP and the future of democracy in America

American democracy will not be secured by Trump’s departure from the White House. It will require the full participation of the party of Lincoln.
NBC News

Covid-19 vaccines face a varied and powerful misinformation movement online

Vaccination proponents and misinformation researchers had been waiting for years for Facebook to take action against the biggest and most influential anti-vaccination pages.
WFAE 90.7 Charlotte's NPR News Source

Worried About The COVID-19 Vaccine? North Carolina's Plan For Vaccine Hesitancy

North Carolina’s Health Director, Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, expects a limited supply of coronavirus vaccine will be available here by the end of the year. That assumes, of course, that the Food and Drug Administration approves its emergency use sometime in the next few weeks.

Vaccines Won't Stop the Pandemic Unless at Least 50 Million Skeptical Americans Change Their Minds

For all the flak that President Trump has taken over the federal government's response, or lack thereof, to the coronavirus pandemic, the government's vaccine development project, Operation Warp Speed, looks like a winner. According to Pfizer, its vaccine prevented COVID in 95 percent of participants in its clinical trials, which are now complete. Moderna's vaccine, which got $1 billion in U.S. government support, prevents 94 percent of cases, the company said.

Disinformation on Social Media Is Threat to Democracy, Rappler CEO Says

Maria Ressa says what she’s living through is Kafkaesque. The crusading Filipina journalist received a John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award on Wednesday from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the latest international recognition of her years-long fight to defend independent media in the Philippines against the authoritarian President Rodrigo Duterte, who denounces her website Rappler as “fake news.”
The Economist

Covid-19: why vaccine mistrust is growing

A vaccine for covid-19 could be rolled out before the end of the year. But a worrying rise in mistrust of vaccines threatens its effectiveness.
items SSRC logo

Classifying and Identifying the Intensity of Hate Speech

Hate speech does not operate in a vacuum, and its rise reflects changing political contexts. If we’re serious about fighting hate speech and its violent and destabilizing consequences, we need to identify its earliest manifestations. Babak Bahador offers a hate-speech intensity scale, a strategy that allows us to move beyond the binary approach that dominates current hate speech research. This concept can be operationalized to better identify and understand the evolutions of hate speech before it leads to real-world harms.
WJLA 24/7 News

Social media spreading 'seeds of doubt' during pandemic

The ability to freely push unproven theories on social media is causing big problems for public health officials trying to convince the country to listen to credible doctors about the pandemic and a vaccine.
Knight Foundation

Researchers found anti-vaccination discourse on Facebook increased in volume over the last decade, and increasingly emphasizes civil rights

A recent study led by the George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics’ associate director David Broniatowski found that anti-vaccination discourse on Facebook increased over the last decade, uniting around the argument that vaccine refusal is a civil right.
Washington Post

In the United States, QAnon is struggling. The conspiracy theory is thriving abroad.

President Trump’s electoral defeat has shaken American followers of QAnon. International believers are mostly keeping faith — and taking the conspiracy theory in new directions.

Is social media ready for a Covid-19 vaccine?

On Monday, November 9, 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech announced in a press release that their vaccine candidate was more than 90 percent effective at preventing Covid-19 infection, based on initial results from their ongoing phase 3 clinical trial. The company expects to have applied for emergency use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the end of November and could have as many as 50 million doses produced by the end of 2020.
U.S. News & World Report

Thousands of Facebook Groups Buzzed With Calls for Violence Ahead of U.S. Election

Before Facebook Inc shut down a rapidly growing "Stop the Steal" Facebook Group on Thursday, the forum featured calls for members to ready their weapons should President Donald Trump lose his bid to remain in the White House.

How online misinformation unfolded after Election Day, boosted by Trump and his allies

Since Election Day, social media users on nearly every major platform have spread rumors of discarded ballots, mysterious new votes and sudden halts in the vote-counting process to raise doubts about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s gains in battleground states.
Fox Business

Facebook seeks shutdown of NYU research into political ad targeting

In letter this month, Facebook says the project violates provisions in its terms of service that prohibit bulk data collection

Stressing freedom, vaccine opponents rebranding in virus era

Years before this year’s anti-mask and reopening demonstrations, vaccine opponents were working on reinventing their image around a rallying cry of civil liberties and medical freedom.
items SSRC logo

The Institutional Crisis at the Root of Our Political Disinformation and Division

The roots of the information disorder are multiple, but Steven Livingston and Lance Bennett argue that a disproportionate amount of attention—and critique—have been directed at technology. Although social media platforms rightly share blame for the circulation of mis- and disinformation, the authors suggest that a prior and more consequential source of information disorder may be traced to sustained attacks on “authoritative institutions,” which have worked, historically, to foster a sense of shared reality and to mitigate against the threat of disinformation.
Nieman Lab

Overwhelmed by covering organized misinformation campaigns? The Media Manipulation Casebook is a great place to start

For journalists in 2020, some of the biggest hurdles in getting factual, corroborated information to news consumers are getting to them before the misinformation does or correcting the false information they’ve previously consumed.

COVID-19, Political Mobilization and Digital Platforms

The George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics hosted a virtual event on digital media’s impact on communities of color during the coronavirus pandemic. In this portion, panelists focused on the effects of misinformation and disinformation campaigns concerning COVID-19 and other health issues.

Investigating Potential Post-Election Violence

The George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics hosted a virtual event on digital media’s impact on communities of color during the coronavirus pandemic. In this panel, panelists discussed the rise of hate groups and movements and the potential for post-Election Day violence from these various different groups.

Communities of Color and Distrust of Medical Professionals

The George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics hosted a virtual event on digital media’s impact on communities of color during the coronavirus pandemic. This panel discussed the history of distrust in medical professional in communities of color and disinformation’s impact on those communities.

Fact Checking and Reporting the Online Campaign

The George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics hosted a virtual event on digital media’s impact on politics. The panel discussed the importance of fact checking in today’s political climate, the impact of misinformation, and the need to teach media literacy in schools.
Washington Post

Inside the ‘Malarkey Factory,’ Biden’s online war room

Joe Biden’s campaign has quietly built a multimillion-dollar operation over the past two months that’s largely designed to combat misinformation online, aiming to rebut President Trump while bracing for any information warfare that could take place in the aftermath of the election.
New York Post

Scientists worry as more Americans say they’ll refuse COVID-19 vaccine

A Pew Research poll from late September showed that about half of US adults (51 percent) wouldn’t get a COVID-19 vaccine if it was available today — a big drop from the 72 percent who said they’d get one back in May.

Twitter, Facebook face backlash over banned story

PBS’ “The Day’’ spoke to Ethan Porter, assistant professor of media and public affairs, about stopping the spread of misinformation on social media.
Tech Crunch

We need universal digital ad transparency now

15 researchers propose a new standard for advertising disclosures

As QAnon Conspiracy Theories Draw New Believers, Scientists Take Aim at Misinformation Pandemic

The first three "nodes" of the conspiracy-theory network known as QAnon arose in 2018 in the persons of founders Tracy Diaz, Paul Furber and Coleman Rogers. They had figured out how to profit from promoting the posts of "Q," a mysterious figure claiming to have inside information on a mass arrest, undertaken with the blessing of Donald Trump, that nabbed Hillary Clinton and others for running a pedophile ring.

Facebook bans anti-vaccination ads but not antivax posts

Facebook says it will ban ads on its platform that discourage vaccinations — with an exception carved out for advocacy ads about government vaccine policies. The company already bans ads about vaccine “hoaxes,” such as the false idea that vaccinations cause autism. The latest policy expands the ban to ads that discourage vaccines for any reason.
USA Today

Fact check: False claim that Pelosi drunk in 2016 photo with Obama

Social media users are sharing a viral image of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and then-President Barack Obama claiming the speaker was intoxicated in the photo.

As false info hits 'boiling point,' ads warn US voters

Verify before you share. Falsehoods spread faster than facts. This is part of the advice given in a series of fast-paced, colorful and straight-talking public service announcements that aim to arm voters against false information about this year's US presidential election, including efforts by Donald Trump to raise fears of a rigged vote.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Protest Movement Is Far Ahead of the Vaccine Itself

Extremism, instability, and a contorted new definition of “civil liberties” have fed into a global anti-vax movement at the worst possible time.
U.S. News & World Report

'Anti-Vaxx' Movement Shifts Focus to Civil Liberties

Facebook chatter from the anti-vaccination movement now frames the issue as one of civil liberties, a new study finds.
Washington Post

The pandemic is amplifying the U.S. anti-vaccine movement — and globalizing it

The coronavirus crisis is energizing America’s anti-vaccine movement and expanding its reach. Even as countries and companies race to develop a safe and effective vaccine, U.S. activists and influencers are working to undermine it, seizing on the legitimate fear that the vaccine might be rushed and leveraging that to further a broader anti-vaccine — even anti-science — agenda.

How Pinterest beat back vaccine misinformation — and what Facebook could learn from its approach

The battle over misinformation amid the Covid-19 pandemic has pitted health experts, parts of the public, and the leaders of online platforms against one another.
The Boston Globe

Russia’s not so little election helpers

Without decades of organized efforts by a lavishly funded movement of self-proclaimed patriots, the disruptive efforts of Russians and other foreign elements would have failed.
The Hill

Biden faces calls to be more active with media

Democrats are criticizing Joe Biden for doing the bare minimum of media interviews, worried that the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee is repeating a mistake made by 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The Economist

QAnon conspiracy theorists could prove awkward for Republicans

Unit recently, most people asked to identify “Q” would mention an eccentric inventor of gadgets for James Bond. Now a nastier, if equally fictitious, Q is becoming better known. Digital searches surged this month among people who hoped to unpick the meaning of “QAnon”—an anti-Semitic and incoherent conspiracy theory. It has been spun for three years in cryptic messages posted by Q, posing as a senior government official.
Morning Consult

Public Interest in Tech Scrutiny From Presidential Candidates Has Grown Since Last Year

45% of adults say presidential candidates should be more critical of the tech industry

Liberal, educated... and anti-vaxxer: pandemic births new vaccine doubters

The rapid speed at which vaccines are being developed and the political pressure from the White House to have one ready by November are turning more and more Americans into skeptics. Experts warn that this caginess about the vaccine could have long-term implications.
Financial Times logo

Why is the ‘anti-vaxxer’ movement growing during a worldwide pandemic?

Greer McVay insists she is “not an anti-vaxxer — not at all”. She is up to date with her own immunisations and had her son vaccinated when he was a child. But she fears the development of a vaccine for coronavirus is being dangerously rushed, in part to improve Donald Trump’s prospects ahead of the presidential election in November.
Washington Post logo

Trump praises baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, says he appreciates support of its followers

President Trump gave a major boost to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, saying Wednesday that he appreciated the support of its followers, calling them “people that love our country.”

Facebook bans some, but not all, QAnon groups and accounts

Facebook said it will restrict the right-wing conspiracy movement QAnon and will no longer recommend that users join groups supporting it, although the company isn’t banning it outright.
CNN logo

Vaccines are safe. But huge numbers of people around the world say they wouldn't take a Covid jab

Neil Johnson, a physicist at George Washington University who is studying vaccine skepticism on social media, told CNN the four most common objections are: safety; whether a vaccine is needed; trust of the establishment and pharmaceutical companies; and perceived uncertainty in the science.
Newsweek logo

Anti-Vax Posts Against Future COVID-19 Vaccine Steadily Increasing on Social Media, Researchers Warn

Misinformation about a vaccine linked to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is "steadily rising" on social media, experts say.
Washington Post logo

QAnon supporter, with Georgia primary victory, is poised to bring far-right conspiracy theory to Congress

Congressional Republicans came a step closer Tuesday to welcoming into their ranks a promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, whose adherents believe President Trump is battling a cabal of “deep state” saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex.
Vox logo

What women in Congress want from Facebook

About 100 female lawmakers from across the world have sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg demanding that the company do a better job combating misogyny on its platform, especially hateful content directed at female public figures.
NBC News logo

House Democrats to Facebook: 'Do more' about harassment and hate targeting women

More than 30 House Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York have signed a letter asking Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to address hate speech targeting women — particularly for women candidates and political leaders.
Axios logo

Female members of Congress to Facebook: Do better

Facebook must do better to protect women in politics, who face a barrage of sexism, hate and harassment on the platform, members of the Democratic Women Caucus including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to the social network Thursday.
Washington Post logo

The Technology 202: Microsoft's possible acquisition of TikTok could also bring increased Washington scrutiny

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) will lead a letter to Facebook asking chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to take concrete steps to enforce the company's policies against hate speech.
Washington Post logo

Biden’s VP should be prepared for an onslaught of online misogyny unlike anything seen before

A poll to be released Thursday, August 6 at a forum on hate speech and misogyny on social media being hosted by the Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics, found that Americans are growing more aware and sophisticated about the prevalence and source of the toxicity they scroll through every day.
Politifact logo

Why false claims about Nancy Pelosi being drunk keep going viral — even though she doesn’t drink

As a partisan fight over the White House coronavirus task force continues to play out in Washington, an altered video that makes it look like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is drunk has gone viral on Facebook.
STAT logo

‘It’s like you injected adrenaline into them’: Facebook’s vaccine misinformation problem faces a new test with Covid-19

As scientists begin to clear a path to a potential coronavirus vaccine, researchers and advocates are increasingly sounding the alarm over what they see as a looming threat: Facebook’s apparent inability to police dangerous falsehoods about vaccines.
USA Today logo

Was your Uber, Lyft fare high because of algorithm bias?

Requesting an Uber or Lyft to a lower-income community? That could cost you – in fact, the algorithms they use may be biased against you, or at least your travel plans. This is according to a study by George Washington University published last month.

Star of Trump’s 2016 Digital Strategy Fades in Changed World

Now the Trump campaign is in a deep slump, for reasons that have less to do with campaign tactics and more to do with the president’s performance on the coronavirus. “I think the shake-up is to be expected. Indeed, the only surprise here is that it has taken this long,” said Steven Livingston, the founding director at the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University.

Researchers race to make COVID vaccine - but will people take it?

Right now, medical companies are furiously working to create a Coronavirus vaccine. But will people take it?
Science Magazine logo

Just 50% of Americans plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s how to win over the rest

Within days of the first confirmed novel coronavirus case in the United States on 20 January, antivaccine activists were already hinting on Twitter that the virus was a scam—part of a plot to profit from an eventual vaccine.
Washington Post logo

The Cybersecurity 202: Commission's plan to avert devastating cyberattack faces uphill battle, 9/11-era officials say

Democrats say Facebook's guards against election disinformation don't go far enough to protect voting by mail.
ABC News logo

Adam Schiff accuses social media companies of misinformation negligence

Schiff was speaking as part of a forum on the consequences of digital platforms’ “misinformation negligence” hosted by George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics (IDDP). Monday’s forum was focused on misinformation that misleads voters and hurts election integrity.

Forum on Disinformation and Election Interference

The George Washington Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics holds a forum on election interference and social media’s role in spreading disinformation, and inflaming racial divisions.
rfi logo

Anti-vaxxers seize virus moment to spread fake news

The vaccine will inject you with an electronic chip, poison you, make you sick, they say. There's no vaccine yet for treating the novel coronavirus, and scientists are multiplying efforts to find one.
Newsweek logo

Climate Change Deniers Exploit Facebook Loophole to Spread Fake Science

Climate change deniers have spread misleading content on Facebook, exploiting a loophole offering exemptions for opinion content.
salon logo

Uber, Lyft algorithms charged users more for trips to non-white neighborhoods: study

A recent study suggests that the algorithm used by popular ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft may actually discriminate against customers seeking transportation in predominantly non-white neighborhoods.
CNN logo

Justice Department wants to upend Silicon Valley's legal shield

"We should question whether companies that serve as increasingly essential communication networks should have business models that profit from this harmful content in the first place," he said during a virtual event Tuesday hosted by George Washington University.
Fox News logo

Pelosi pours $180K into Facebook ads while calling for advertisers to boycott site

"Advertisers are in a position, they have power to discourage platforms from amplifying dangerous and even life-threatening disinformation," said Pelosi at an online conference on social media hosted by George Washington University on Tuesday.
Nature logo

How Facebook, Twitter and other data troves are revolutionizing social science

Over the past decade, researchers have used such techniques to pick apart topics that social scientists have chased for more than a century: from the psychological underpinnings of human morality, to the influence of misinformation, to the factors that make some artists more successful than others.
Washington Post logo

The Technology 202: Apple in the antitrust spotlight as coronavirus pandemic boosts mobile payments

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) encouraged advertisers to discourage platforms from amplifying violent content and misinformation at a forum on coronavirus misinformation yesterday, the Hill reports. She wants them to withdraw their ads and also mount a public pressure campaign. “Advertisers are in a position — they have power — to discourage platforms from amplifying dangerous and even life-threatening disinformation,” Pelosi said during a George Washington University forum focused on misinformation.
Washington Post logo

Prosecutors claim that a ‘boogaloo’ killed two cops. What’s a boogaloo?

The boogaloo movement is associated with a distinctive look and discordant politics. In April, boogaloos appeared at protests in Hawaiian shirts and light infantry attire accessorized with surfing and white-nationalist paraphernalia as well as semiautomatic rifles. Yet the boogaloos first appeared online.
ABC News logo

Social media platforms are profiting from COVID-19 misinformation: Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi cited bogus COVID-19 cures and other health-related scams as examples of life-threatening misinformation on social media. The California lawmaker was speaking as part of a forum on the consequences of digital platforms’ “misinformation negligence” hosted by George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics (IDDP).

Online Scams and COVID-19

George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics (IDDP) held a forum on scams, profiteering and conspiracy theories during the coronavirus pandemic.

Online Disinformation and COVID-19

George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics (IDDP) held a forum on disinformation during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hill logo

Pelosi calls on advertisers to pressure social media platforms over misinformation

"Advertisers are in a position — they have power — to discourage platforms for amplifying dangerous and even life threatening disinformation," Pelosi said during a George Washington University forum focused on misinformation about the coronavirus on social media.
CNBC logo

Pelosi says advertisers should use their ‘tremendous leverage’ to force social media companies to stop spreading false and dangerous information

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., encouraged companies that advertise on social media to use their “tremendous leverage” to push platforms to crack down on disinformation. “Know your power,” Pelosi said at an online forum about Covid-19 and social media disinformation hosted by George Washington University on Tuesday.
Politico logo

Pelosi, Cicilline to take aim at social media

Top Democratic lawmakers are expected to tear into social media companies’ efforts to combat online disinformation at a George Washington University virtual forum today focused in part on misleading Covid-19 news.

Lawmakers, Doctors Host COVID-19 Social Media Disinformation Forum

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, as well as other lawmakers and doctors, took part in a virtual conference hosted by George Washington University to discuss the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 on social media.
Venture Beat logo

Researchers find racial discrimination in ‘dynamic pricing’ algorithms used by Uber, Lyft, and others

A preprint study published by researchers at George Washington University presents evidence of social bias in the algorithms ride-sharing startups like Uber, Lyft, and Via use to price fares.
Forbes logo

Trump needs Twitter. Twitter needs Trump. Who needs who more?

The clash between President Trump and Twitter reached new heights over the past few days. Twitter started to more rigorously police Trump’s posts, while Trump tried to weaken legal protections that shield social media companies like Twitter from liability for what their users post.
Insider logo

A map of anti-vaxxer Facebook users shows how they're better targeting neutral parties in the dangerous war against vaccine supporters on social media, according to a new study

Anti-vaxxers have been waging a campaign against vaccines on social media for years, but now that we're in a global pandemic and a vaccine is likely the only way out, the possible effects of these efforts are far more serious. A lot of misinformation has been spread about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, since this pandemic began, often by bots, and it appears a lot of people believe what they're seeing on social media.

Trump signs order on social media companies

KAET-PBS, Phoenix, spoke to Ethan Porter, assistant professor of media and public affairs regarding President Trump's recent executive order.
Washington Post logo

Trump campaign is creating an alternate reality online about coronavirus

The Trump administration’s mishandling of key moments in the novel coronavirus outbreak has been well documented. Early travel restrictions from China and Europe were meant to buy time, but inaction or poor planning squandered much of the benefit. Delays in testing allowed the virus to spread across the country largely undetected. A shortage of personal protective equipment while cases surged overwhelmed hospitals and health-care workers. The president promoted unproven, and sometimes dangerous, medical approaches to fighting the disease, in some cases with potentially deadly consequences. He misrepresented how quickly a vaccine will be available.
ABC News Cleveland logo

Misinformation, conspiracy theories run rampant online during COVID-19 pandemic

From 5G cell towers to billionaire Bill Gates, conspiracy theories and misinformation have run rampant during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is hardly a new phenomenon, in the instant information age, the issue of widely-disseminated false or misleading information on social media has certainly gotten worse, media experts and researchers said.
Nature logo

The epic battle against coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories

In the first few months of 2020, wild conspiracy theories about Bill Gates and the new coronavirus began sprouting online. Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist who has funded efforts to control the virus with treatments, vaccines and technology, had himself created the virus, argued one theory. He had patented it, said another. He’d use vaccines to control people, declared a third. The false claims quietly proliferated among groups predisposed to spread the message — people opposed to vaccines, globalization or the privacy infringements enabled by technology. Then one went mainstream.
Yahoo logo

Twitter-Trump clash intensifies political misinformation battle

President Donald Trump's threat to shut down social media companies after Twitter labeled two of his tweets misleading sets up a fresh challenge for platforms as they struggle to deal with political misinformation during a toxic election campaign.
Forbes logo

Will Twitter ever remove one of Trump’s inflammatory tweets?

For the first time, Twitter has added a fact-check label to a tweet by President Donald Trump that claimed mail-in election ballots would be fraudulent. But it stopped short of removing those tweets or others he posted earlier this month about a false murder accusation that generated huge criticism against the company for failing to remove them.

The Information Apocalypse Is Already Here, And Reality Is Losing

We’ve spent more than three years preparing for an information apocalypse. Why couldn’t we stop it with the coronavirus?
Politifact logo

The week in fact-checking: the pandemic election, Trump's weight

Politifact Editor-in-Chief Angie Holan mentioned our joint event Presidential Communications in a Time of Crisis in her roundup "The Week in Fact-checking."
Washington Post logo

Ukraine’s citizens worry about covid-19. And they still have to worry about the war.

To learn how Ukrainians prioritize these concerns against battling the pandemic, researchers partnered with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) as part of our international and multi-university project on Identity and Borders in Flux: The Case of Ukraine. KIIS included a series of our questions in their April 22-24 telephone “omnibus” tracking survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,024 adult residents of Ukraine.
The Atlantic logo

We Don’t Even Have a COVID-19 Vaccine, and Yet the Conspiracies Are Here

Even as vaccines for the disease are being held up as the last hope for a return to normalcy, misinformation about them is spreading.
Knight Foundation logo

Study shows how misinformation spreads online and fuels distrust

A recent study by physicist and Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics affiliate Neil Johnson explores how the views of anti-vaccine groups tend to spread more widely on social media than pro-vaccination views, increasing the chances of reaching people who are undecided on the subject. Professor Johnson’s model predicts continued growth of anti-vaccine sentiment on Facebook and other social networks, which could affect how widely a COVID-19 vaccination is embraced.
Time logo

There Isn't a COVID-19 Vaccine Yet. But Some Are Already Skeptical About It

Amid the American flags, “Make America Great Again” hats and “freedom is essential” posters appearing at recent protests against coronavirus lockdowns in Sacramento, Calif., another familiar slogan has materialized: “We do not consent.” It’s long been a popular rallying cry among antivaccine activists, who claim without evidence that vaccines cause autism or other conditions. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, those activists have become intertwined with demonstrators who want businesses to reopen despite public health experts’ warnings.
CNN logo

Social media rules. That's bad in a pandemic

Popular social media posts are filled with inaccuracies about science. They could damage public health during this coronavirus pandemic, the authors of two separate studies say.
ars Technica logo

The COVID-19 misinformation crisis is just beginning, but there is hope

Last year, the United States reported the greatest number of measles cases since 1992. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1,282 individual cases of measles in 31 states in 2019, and the majority were among people who were not vaccinated against measles. It was yet another example of how the proliferation of anti-vaccine messaging has put public health at risk, and the COVID-19 pandemic is only intensifying the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Wired logo

Why Is Facebook So Afraid of Checking Facts?

A video laden with falsehoods about Covid-19 emerged on Facebook last week, and has now been viewed many millions of times. The company has taken steps to minimize the video’s reach; but its fact-checks, in particular, appear to have been applied with a curious—if not dangerous—reticence. The reason for that reticence should alarm you: It seems that the biggest social network in the world is, at least in part, basing its response to pandemic-related misinformation on a misreading of the academic literature.
Cosmos Magazine logo

Mapping online distrust in health expertise

A recent study by physicist and Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics affiliate Neil Johnson explores how the views of anti-vaccine groups tend to spread more widely on social media than pro-vaccination views, increasing the chances of reaching people who are undecided on the subject. Professor Johnson’s model predicts continued growth of anti-vaccine sentiment on Facebook and other social networks, which could affect how widely a COVID-19 vaccination is embraced.
NPR logo

A New Study Explores The Spread Of Misinformation About Coronavirus On Facebook

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Neil Johnson, a professor of physics at George Washington University, about his study on the spread of scientific misinformation about the coronavirus and its effects.
Discover Magazine logo

Anti-Vaxxers’ Social Networks are Ripe With People Susceptible to Their Misinformation

When physicist Neil Johnson moved to Maryland in 2018 to take a job at George Washington University (GW), he looked online to see what medical requirements his son would have to meet before entering high school. He quickly stumbled upon many parents having online conversations about tactics they could use to get out of vaccinations — something that had never crossed his mind.
Inverse logo

COVID-19 is a “perfect storm” for conspiracy theories, finds new study that shocked scientists

Considering the 2020 pandemic, you might forget 2019 had its own public health disaster. There were two outbreaks of measles in Washington State last year, bolstered by an anti-vaccination sentiment that festered online.
U.S. News & World Report logo

Why Anti-Vaxxers Often Win Out on Facebook

Groups that spread vaccine misinformation on social media have more impact than government health agencies and other expert organizations on undecided people, a new study finds.
Newsweek logo

The anti-vaxxers are winning the battle on Facebook

Anti-vaccination Facebook Pages are currently better at attracting undecided users to their cause than pro-science counterparts, researchers have found.
Science Magazine logo

Vaccine opponents are gaining in Facebook ‘battle for hearts and minds,’ new map shows

A first-of-its-kind analysis of more than 1300 Facebook pages with nearly 100 million followers has produced a network map that’s alarming public health professionals. Antivaccine pages have fewer followers than pro-vaccine pages but are more numerous, faster growing, and increasingly more connected to undecided pages, the study finds. If the current trends continue, the researchers predict, antivaccine views will dominate online discussion in 10 years—a time when a future vaccine against COVID-19 may be critical to public health.
Inside Science logo

Anti-Vaccine Messaging Is Well-Connected on Social Media

A new study further underscores the challenges of curbing misinformation, showing that efforts to promote accurate medical information about vaccines on Facebook are failing to reach wide audiences. If people were to resist taking a future coronavirus vaccine that's shown to be safe and effective, it could threaten the ability to corral the pandemic.
Nature logo

Anti-vaccine movement could undermine efforts to end coronavirus pandemic, researchers warn

As scientists work to create a vaccine against COVID-19, a small but fervent anti-vaccination movement is marshalling against it. Campaigners are seeding outlandish narratives: they falsely say that coronavirus vaccines will be used to implant microchips into people, for instance, and falsely claim that a woman who took part in a UK vaccine trial died. In April, some carried placards with anti-vaccine slogans at rallies in California to protest against the lockdown. Last week, a now-deleted YouTube video promoting wild conspiracy theories about the pandemic and asserting (without evidence) that vaccines would “kill millions” received more than 8 million views.
New York Times logo

Get Ready for a Vaccine Information War

Social media is already filling up with misinformation about a Covid-19 vaccine, months or years before one even exists.
NBC News logo

As '#Plandemic' goes viral, those targeted by discredited scientist's crusade warn of 'dangerous' claims

Initially pushed by anti-vaccination disinformation peddlers, the video was then promoted by minor celebrities.
Psychology Today logo

Make America Open Again: Grassroots Protest or Astroturfing?

What's really behind calls to open up the country and end the lockdown?
Washington Post logo

Groups sow doubt about COVID vaccine before one even exists

A coronavirus vaccine is still months or years away, but groups that peddle misinformation about immunizations are already taking aim, potentially eroding confidence in what could be humanity’s best chance to defeat the virus.
Buzzfeed logo

The Emails Promising Coronavirus-Protecting Masks Seemed Too Good To Be True. They Were.

Roughly a billion emails promoted overpriced face masks with misleading claims. The man selling them says it isn't his fault.
Time logo

Facebook Is Notifying Users Who Have Shared Coronavirus Misinformation. Could It Do the Same for Politics?

Hoping to stem the torrent of false cures and conspiracy theories about COVID-19, Facebook announced Thursday it would begin informing users globally who have liked, commented on, or shared “harmful” misinformation about the coronavirus, pointing them instead in the direction of a reliable source.
U.S. News & World Report

Tweets Show Americans Are Following COVID-19 Precautions

An analysis of Twitter data suggests that Americans are heeding social distancing and other safety recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic, researchers say.
Politico logo

Building a national surveillance system

A group of local researchers are hoping that policymakers will look to publicly available Twitter data for hints about whether people are respecting social distancing policies.
Wall Street Journal logo

Members of Sanders’s Online Army Ready to Fight On

Senator's web-based fans aggressively use Facebook to support their candidate, an many aren't ready to embrace Joe Biden.
Media File logo

Facebook Unveils Unprecedented ‘Supreme Court’ For Content Regulation

In recent years, Facebook has had to grapple with major content management issues: conspiracy theorists and politicians running false ads, as well as the dissemination of doctored videos. In response to these criticisms, the company has tried to regulate content based on its community standards, often being denounced for its decisions. Issues arise, Facebook responds—always imperfectly in the eyes of its critics—and outrage ensues.
Boston Globe logo

Donald Trump’s coronavirus advice just might kill us

Covid-19 is a threat not just to our health, but our democracy
Columbia Journalism Review logo

Twitter plans misinfo labels, but are they a good idea?

As part of its effort to deal with the spread of misinformation on its platform, Twitter is experimenting with adding colored labels that would appear directly beneath any inaccurate statements posted by politicians and other public figures, according to a leaked demo of new features sent recently to NBC.
Christian Science Monitor logo

Twitter isn’t real life. But for Sanders fans, it’s a powerful tool.

According to a Monitor analysis, supporters of Bernie Sanders are the most active and aggressive in their responses to other campaigns on Twitter. Many say it’s all in the service of a greater good.

How Trump's Facebook Ads Strategy Differs From Dem Candidates

Rebekah Tromble, George Washington University media professor and Jessica Alter, Tech for Campaigns co-founder discuss Trump's digital ad campaign on "Bloomberg Technology."
New York Times logo

The Audacity of Hate

Trump has a knack for turning anger and fear into political power. And for turning the volume up to 11.
phys.org logo

Researcher finds a mathematical pattern in human conflict using data science

A Columbian College of Arts and Sciences professor used computational modeling to prove that human conflicts throughout history have a hidden pattern—a breakthrough that came to him while watching his son play video games.
Discover Magazine logo

Meet the Physicist Predicting When Online Hate Will Turn to Real-World Violence

An analysis of such group dynamics, looking specifically for abrupt, exponential surges in membership growth, could provide warning signs of bad things to come.

The Delicate Art of Debunking Conspiracy Theories

Presenting believers with facts can make them angrier. But sometimes the evidence does change minds.
Washington Post logo

Why are Republicans using Putin’s talking points? This study helps explain.

Increasingly, Republican voters think Vladimir Putin is a good leader. But Russians don’t feel the same way about President Trump.
salon logo

Trump's smears of Biden have only started: Can the former veep fight back?

Turn the page on impeachment — but Trump's attacks will keep coming. Do they reveal that he fears Biden most?
New York Times logo

Trump’s Digital Advantage Is Freaking Out Democratic Strategists

Left and right agree on one point. The president’s re-election campaign is way ahead online.
Washington Post logo

Sanders supporters have weaponized Facebook to spread angry memes about his Democratic rivals

Users are using mass-posting technologies to flood Facebook with attacks on Elizabeth Warren and others
Politico logo

No, We’re Not Living in a Post-Fact World

When presented with facts, Americans generally become more accurate. The question is: Are they consuming enough of the right information?
Los Angeles Times logo

No #Bernieblackout here: Sanders rides a surge of alternative media

Sanders supporters loudly protest what they see as the major media’s failure to cover their favored candidate or to portray him as a serious contender for the nomination. The hashtag #Bernieblackout has become a major presence on social media.
Buzzfeed logo

NATO-Linked Researchers Bought Fake Social Media Engagements To Test How Facebook, Twitter, And Google Combat Manipulation. The Companies Failed.

A NATO affiliate carried out a four-month experiment into manipulation on social media websites. The findings are published in a major new report.
Politifact logo

The State of PolitiFact in 2019: A report to our readers

PolitiFact started as a politics news website in 2007, but these days, it feels more like a mission.
Newsweek logo


A new Russian ad campaign mockingly suggested that parents opposed to vaccinations are afraid to give the potentially life-saving inoculations to their children out of concern they could be bitten by vampires.
Politifact logo

Here’s how to fact-check your family at the Thanksgiving dinner table

PolitiFact spoke to experts about how to best fact-check someone in person. Below are six tips (presented in order of deployment) to help you navigate politics during Thanksgiving.
Politifact logo

Disinformation targets Republicans who criticize Trump or support the impeachment inquiry

Mitt Romney and the few other Republican lawmakers who have spoken out against Trump lately have become the targets of disinformation on social media. False Facebook posts and tweets about federal and local lawmakers who broke the party line have been shared thousands of times, with some talking points making their way onto radio and TV programs, too.

Facebook Says Anonymous Pages Posting Coordinated Pro-Trump Content Do Not Break Its Rules

As public impeachment hearings kicked off in Washington last week, a meme featuring Rep. Adam Schiff spread across Facebook.
Washington Post logo

The Health 202: Elizabeth Warren is no longer a Medicare-for-all purist

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the final presidential candidate fully on board with a swift and complete Medicare-for-all overhaul of the U.S. health-care system. No longer.
Financial Times logo

Facebook’s fake numbers problem

The social network has 2.5bn monthly active users but almost 400m of the accounts are bogus.
IFL Science

Two Groups Finance Over Half Of Facebook’s Anti-Vax Ads

The anti-vax movement has done a lot to derail one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine: vaccinations.
The Washington Post

Majority of anti-vaccine ads on Facebook were funded by two groups

The majority of Facebook advertisements spreading misinformation about vaccines were funded by two anti-vaccine groups, including one led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., according to a study published this week.
Gizmodo logo

Over Half of Anti-Vaxxer Ads on Facebook Were Funded by Just Two Entities, Study Finds

New research recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Vaccine indicates the extent to which just a small number of individuals exploited ads on Facebook to promote misinformation about vaccinations.
The Guardian

Majority of anti-vaxx ads on Facebook are funded by just two organizations

Study finds Robert F Kennedy Jr’s World Mercury Project and Larry Cook’s Stop Mandatory Vaccinations bought 54% of ads
Verdict logo

Facebook deleted pro-vaccination adverts on political grounds, study finds

A landmark study into health-related advertising on Facebook has found that the social media giant has removed numerous adverts promoting vaccination on the grounds that they are political.
ZD Net logo

Will AI ever ‘understand’ satire?

Machines don't understand much of anything, especially not things such as ironic speech, but machine learning may be able to assist humanity in some way by counting the instances of linguistic and semantic constructions that indicate satire or misleading news, according to a new study by tech startup AdVerifai, in partnership with George Washington University and Amazon’s AWS.
Venture Beat logo

Researchers develop AI that distinguishes between satire and fake news

Researchers at George Washington University, Amazon AWS AI, and startup AdVerifai investigated a machine learning approach to classifying misleading speech.
Washington Post logo

A viral video landed him a job on the Sanders campaign. His resignation highlights the pitfalls of the quest for digital dominance.

Released on YouTube earlier this month, the video racked up millions of views as it tore through social media, caught the eye of the senator’s top staff and landed its creator — a 34-year-old named Matt Orfalea, who got his start in reality television — a job on the campaign.
Washington Post logo

The Fact Checker’s guide to campaign ads

When it comes to campaign ads, there’s a lot to be wary of. Not only do they interrupt favorite TV shows, sneak into social feeds and infiltrate dinner conversations, but they can also be misleading or false.
U.S. News & World Report

How Online Hate Speech Spreads Around the Globe

A team of researchers put together the first global map for online hate and suggests new strategies for social media companies.
Forbes logo

Online Hate Report Sheds Light On Prevalence Of Social Media Hate

A recent report analyzes how hate communities on Facebook and VKontakte form, flourish and adapt despite social media organizations trying to snuff them out.
Fox News logo

'Highways of hate': Current policing of hate groups is ineffective, expert warns

Social media firms such as Facebook are policing online hate groups all wrong, according to new research.
The Guardian logo

The physics professor who says online extremists act like curdled milk

Hate may be less like a cancer and more like bubbles, says Neil Johnson, who applies physics theory to human behavior
geek.com logo

Try These Four Policies to Dismantle Online Hate Groups

A first-of-its-kind mapping model tracks how hate spread and adapts online—providing what researchers hope is a blueprint for stopping it.
Science Magazine logo

‘Dark pools’ of hate flourish online. Here are four controversial ways to fight them

A new study suggests online hate groups form and spread along virtual “hate highways.”
MIT Technology Review logo

Here’s how social-media firms should tackle online hate, according to physics

Policing online hate groups is like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole, and it’s not working. Here are some ideas that might.
electronicsweekly.com logo

Mapping on-line hate reveals team work is the only useful countermeasure

Policing on-line hate from within a single platform, such as Facebook, can make the spread of hate worse, and will eventually generate global ‘dark pools’ in which hate will flourish, is one of the findings the finding in a recent scientific paper in Nature.
earth.com logo

Online hate thrives globally through interconnected clusters, study shows

Researchers at George Washington University (GW) have developed a mapping model that is the first of its kind to track how hate clusters thrive online.
The Verge logo

Researchers propose a new approach for dismantling online hate networks

How do you get rid of hate speech on social platforms? Until now, companies have generally tried two approaches. One is to ban individual users who are caught posting abuse; the other is to ban the large pages and groups where people who practice hate speech organize and promote their noxious views.
NBC News

'Hate is in the ether': Research finds hate is resilient on the internet

Even as social networks have vowed to do more to remove hate speech from their platforms, at least some of the people who spread it are finding ways to still organize online.
CNBC logo

A new theory describes how hate travels across social media platforms and around the world — and one researcher compares it to water boiling

Researchers from George Washington University and the University of Miami mapped the interconnected networks of hate across platforms and regions in a new study published in Nature on Wednesday.
Inverse logo


A team of physicists and computer scientists from George Washington University and the University of Miami observed this hopping behavior by tracking the movement of right-wing hate clusters that originate on Facebook and VKontakte then cross the boundaries set by internet platforms to applications like Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
Science Daily logo

First of its kind mapping model tracks how hate spreads and adapts online

Researchers have developed a mapping model, the first of its kind, to track how hate spreads online.
Scientific American logo

Researchers Model Online Hate Networks in Effort to Battle Them

A new study identifies the network dynamics that help neo-Nazis and other extremists survive and thrive on social media—and suggests ways to defeat them
Nature logo

Podcast: Tackling online hate speech, and identifying early fossils

Researchers have been modeling how hate groups interact online, and have come up with suggestions to combat this activity
Nature logo

Strategies for combating online hate

An analysis of the dynamics of online hate groups on social-media platforms reveals why current methods to ban hate content are ineffective, and provides the basis for four potential strategies to combat online hate.
New York Times logo

In the Trump Era, a Family’s Fight With Google and Facebook Over Disinformation

The Western Journal has been among the most popular and influential publications in America, shaping the political beliefs of more than 36 million deeply loyal readers and followers. In the three years ending in March, according to a New York Times analysis, Western Journal’s Facebook posts earned three-quarters of a billion shares, likes and comments, almost as many as the combined tally of 10 leading American news organizations that together employ thousands of reporters and editors.
The Washington Post

Facebook isn’t ready for 2020

Can Facebook really prevent a repeat of the kind of election meddling that Russia conducted in 2016, and that dozens of other countries and nonstate groups are now trying to replicate?
Harvard Business Review logo

Research: For Crowdsourcing to Work, Everyone Needs an Equal Voice

How useful is the wisdom of crowds? For years, it has been recognized as producing incredibly accurate predictions by aggregating the opinions of many people, allowing even amateur forecasters to beat the experts.
Fortune logo

Trump Is Holding a Social Media Summit Today. Here’s Who Will Attend—And Who Won’t

The White House is held a closed-door social media summit that was short on social media companies and long on fringe conservative voices that back up President Donald Trump’s claims of being silenced online.