False News and Fact-Checking: Information Flows During a Pandemic and Presidential Election
Since the 2016 election, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others have struggled to contain the spread of false and misleading information on their platforms. The COVID-19 infodemic has contributed to the problem, with “Plandemic” and other conspiracy theories reaching millions of users before the platforms can remove them.
October 16, 2020
12:00pm - 1:00pm EST
Since the 2016 election, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others have struggled to contain the spread of false and misleading information on their platforms. The COVID-19 infodemic has contributed to the problem, with “Plandemic” and other conspiracy theories reaching millions of users before the platforms can remove them. This seminar will take on the spread of misinformation and disinformation on social media platforms — and which methods work best to correct false claims. Speakers include Brendan Nyhan, whose research shows how unproven claims of voter fraud could undermine public trust in elections; Emily Thorson, whose work explores the effects of media coverage on misinformation and fact-checking; and Leticia Bode, whose research investigates how much “social correction” takes place in the real world and who witnesses these acts.
Brendan Nyhan is a professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College whose research focuses on misperceptions about politics and health care. He is a co-founder of Bright Line Watch, a non-partisan group monitoring the state of American democracy, and a contributor to The Upshot at the New York Times. He also co-authored All the President’s Spin, a New York Times bestseller, and served as a media critic for the Columbia Journalism Review.>
Leticia Bode is a provost’s distinguished associate professor in the Communication, Culture, and Technology master’s program at Georgetown University. She researches the intersection of communication, technology, and political behavior, emphasizing the role communication and information technologies may play in the acquisition, use, effects, and implications of political information and misinformation.
Emily Thorson is an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University. Her research traces how political information and misinformation reaches citizens (through traditional and new forms of media) and how this information shapes their attitudes and behavior. She co-edited Misinformation and Mass Audiences (University of Texas Press), and her book, The Invented State: Systematic Policy Misperceptions in the American Public, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.