Propaganda, Misinformation, "Fake News", and what to do about it

"Fake news" has become a term used daily by everyone, from laymen to heads of states, to indicate lies and propaganda presented as news. It is not a new phenomenon. Instead, its novelty lies in the omnipresence of social media technologies and its potential to compromise the foundations of Democracy. But how severe is the challenge it presents?

The history of online efforts to influence public opinion and elections through the manipulation of the Web and social media are reviewed. To understand the extent of the problem, cases of successful Google and Twitter bombs that "detonated" in cyberspace since 2003 are studied. The technical solutions proposed over the years, including twittertrails.com, which tracks the spreading of rumors on Twitter are discussed before considering why this problem is hard to solve by technical approaches alone and how epistemology needs to play an integral part of the solution.

No booking required. Please contact christina.redfield@wolfson.ox.ac.uk for further information.

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