Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

The fight against fake news and electoral disinformation

Oxford University Press Blog: “Just as COVID-19 is a stress test of every nation’s health system, an election process is a stress test of a nation’s information and communication system. A week away from the US presidential election, the symptoms are not so promising. News reports about the spread of so-called “fake news,” disinformation, and conspiracy theories are thriving as they did in 2016. Disinformation and “fake news” are not new, but the 2016 US presidential election placed the phenomenon squarely onto the international agenda. The spread of false and manipulated information dressed as news is closely associated with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In a 2018 study, researchers examined the exposure to misinformation during the American election campaign in 2016; they found that Facebook was a key vector of exposure to fake news. It becomes harder to differentiate between false and trusted information when supposedly everyone can publish and spread information online that looks like news to large groups of people. The spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories has been identified as a problem in several states, for example in Florida, and news publications, such as the New York Times, are daily tracking viral misinformation ahead of the 2020 election. While disinformation and foreign influence was of great concern in the 2016 election,  disinformation from domestic sources is additionally reported as a major threat in the 2020 US election. The spread of fake new, rumors, and conspiracy theories is problematic in itself, but the main damage of such orchestrated campaigns might be the systematic erosion of citizens’ capacity to recognize facts, the undermining of established science, and the sowing of confusion about what is real or not…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.