Links I Liked: Propaganda, Misinformation and Rumours

"Never Forget Bowling Green" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Ted Eytan on Flickr

Photo: Ted Eytan on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What is true, what is false and what can we learn from false information? A short collection of links about rumours, propaganda and information verification.

The Computational Propaganda Research Project has just released nine case studies that look at how online media are being used to spread misinformation. The case studies describe the situation in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, the Ukraine and the US. The focus is on documenting instances where the use of bots was evident, however some case studies also look at community and government driven initiatives to address the use of bots in the political discourse. The blog post contains a link to the individual case studies as well as to the general executive summary.

One of the organisations that is trying to use social media to inform their own work is Amnesty International. Given that human rights issues are highly political, Amnesty needs to ensure that they do not fall victim to misinformation themselves. In response, Amnesty has created the Digital Verification Corps. This blog post by the Engine Room describes their work and how Amnesty is trying to protect their volunteers from being traumatised by what they see.

Not all rumours are malicious, nor are rumours purely an online phenomenon (duh!). In many humanitarian crises, rumours flourish because there is a lack of dialogue between the people affected by the crises and those who have the resources to help. In this blog post, Internews’ Anahi Ayala Iacucci looks at how the spread of rumours is influenced by the situation that people find themselves in and how false hope can trigger (calamitous) action.

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