Disinformation, misinformation, and “fake news” are longstanding phenomena that, in the wake of the digital revolution, have become newly politicized and consequential. Citizens around the world have instant access to a vast variety of information – some of which is purposely misleading or manufactured for political ends. The known uses of disinformation include coordinated campaigns aimed at influencing elections and undermining democratic processes. In response to these developments, new research on mis- and disinformation is rapidly emerging from a range of academic disciplines.
MediaWell is an initiative of the Social Science Research Council that seeks to track and curate that research. As a respected, nonpartisan, and cross-disciplinary organization, the SSRC is uniquely placed to help consolidate an expanding scholarly literature that originates in multiple, partially overlapping fields. As part of this initiative, we summarize research findings, identify gaps in scholarship, contribute to policy decisions, and translate academic knowledge for a broad audience of scholars, journalists, and interested citizens.
We hope these efforts will prove useful to regulatory, industry, and institutional efforts to strengthen political discourse, reclaim the democratic potential of social media, reduce the spread of hatred and incivility, and strengthen our democracies.
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