Misinformation Speaker Series 2019-20

Co-sponsored by:

shorensteinnulablogos

David Lazer

davidlazer

Northeastern University

Professor of Political Science, and Computer and Information Science, co-director of the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks

Complete bio and more information here

December 3rd, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Wexner 434, Harvard Kennedy School

TALK TITLE: Democracy, today: Fake news, social networks, and algorithms

ABSTRACT: The Internet is increasingly the home of democracy. It is where people turn for civic information, engage in political discourse public and private, and turn to mobilize collectively. The virtual structures of the Internet are, in some ways, quite distinct from what preceded; and in other ways, they reproduce and amplify those pre-existing patterns. The Internet can be the ultimate disseminator of misinformation; as well as the ultimate educator. People have at their fingertips more diverse sources of information than ever before; yet many of the institutions for the production of political and civic information are being eviscerated. This talk will discuss the informational and social logics of the Internet-- what is our democracy, today?-- how they support and undermine democracy, and concludes with a discussion of what structures and practices we need from the Internet to support democracy, today.

BIO: Northeastern University Professor David Lazer's research focuses on the nexus of network science, computational social science, and collaborative intelligence. He is the founder of the citizen science website Volunteer Science. His research has been published in such journals as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the American Political Science Review, and the Administrative Science Quarterly, and has received extensive coverage in the media, including the New York Times, NPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and CBS Evening News.

Watch the full event here:

David G. Rand

Sloan School, MIT

Associate Professor of Management Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Bio and more information here.

February 5th, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Wexner 434, Harvard Kennedy School

TALK TITLE: Understanding and reducing the spread of misinformation online 

ABSTRACT: I will give an overview of our work assessing various interventions against misinformation and "fake news" on social media. I will start by briefly discussing the limitations of two of the most commonly discussed approaches: warnings based on professional fact-checking, which are not scalable and we find can increase belief in, and sharing, of misinformation which is not flagged (link); and emphasizing publishers, which is (surprisingly) ineffective because untrusted outlets typically produce headlines that are judged as inaccurate even without knowing the source (link). I will then turn to two promising approaches: nudging social media users to think about accuracy, which we show increases the quality of news shared in a field experiment with over 5000 Twitter users who previously tweeted Breitbart links (link), and using crowdsourcing to identify misinformation, as we show that crowds of laypeople produce judgments that are highly aligned with professional fact-checkers (link).  

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Andrew Guess

Princeton University

Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs

Bio and more information here.

February 12th, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Wexner 434, Harvard Kennedy School

Yochai Benkler

Harvard Law School

Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies

TALK TITLE: "Don't panic.  It's just the collapse of neoliberalism."

The talk will be based on a paper found here.

Bio and more information here.

February 26th, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Wexner 434, Harvard Kennedy School

Watch the full event here: 

CANCELLED (TO BE RESCHEDULED)

Young Mie Kim

Young Mie Kim

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

TALK TITLE: Follow the Ad: Uncovering Election Interference behind Data-Driven Digital Platforms

ABSTRACT: Election interference raises grave normative concerns. Unfortunately, due to conceptual and methodological challenges, little scientific knowledge has been generated about election interference. This talk discusses the mechanisms by which election interference occurred and the extent to which it influenced the electorate. The talk presents Kim’s research on covert digital campaigns by unidentifiable, unattributable groups ahead of the 2016 US elections. Kim’s analysis is based on large-scale political ad data that her team, Project DATA (Digital Ad Tracking & Analysis), collected independently from tech platforms by utilizing a user-based, real-time, ad-tracking tool and “reverse engineering” techniques. Kim’s research uncovers the prevalence of foreign and domestic “suspicious” groups (i.e., unidentifiable, unattributable, untraceable groups that do not leave any public footprint) and their targeting, messaging, and organizational strategies and tactics (e.g., voter suppression and asymmetric [de]mobilization). Furthermore, it reveals the structure of covert coordination that facilitated the deep penetration of election interference campaigns into the electorate. The talk offers insight into regulatory policies and discusses the implications for the functioning of democracy.

Bio and more information here.

March 11th, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Wexner 434, Harvard Kennedy School

CANCELLED (TO BE RESCHEDULED)

Natalie Jomini Stroud

University of Texas at Austin 

Professor, Department of Communication Studies and School of Journalism

Bio and more information here.

April 8th,12:00 - 1:30pm
Wexner 434, Harvard Kennedy School