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Comparative Approaches to Disinformation



The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy hosted the Comparative Approaches to Disinformation workshop at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA on October 4, 2019. This by-invitation workshop featured scholars from around the world discussing their research on the prevalence, impact, and diffusion of disinformation. The presentations covered new theoretical and empirical contributions to existing bodies of knowledge in this area, offered comparative perspectives involving multiple countries, explored interdisciplinary approaches, and examined other areas of research such as cross-platform analysis.

See also: Special Section on Comparative Approaches to Disinformation: Call for Papers (Papers are due by February 1, 2020)


This workshop took place in Wasserstein Hall on the Harvard Law School campus. 

Session 1: Opening Panel

Speakers: Young Mie Kim, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Alice Marwick, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virginia

Moderator: Joan Donovan, Shorenstein

Session 2: Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Disinformation

Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Jon Roozenbeek, University of Cambridge; Melisa Basol, University of Cambridge, The Science of Pre-bunking: Using Psychology to Combat Disinformation

Michael Learner, University of Michigan; Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, University of Exeter; Neelanjan Sircar, Ashoka University, Understanding and Stopping Misinformation in India: Survey and Experimental Evidence

Herman Wasserman, University of Cape Town; Dani Madrid-Morales, University of Houston, Audience Motivations for Sharing Dis- and Misinformation: A Comparative Study in Five Sub-Saharan African Countries (Slides)

Chi-Ying Chen, Asia University; Shao-Liang Chang, Asia University, Factors Associated with Belief in Fake News: From the Perspective of Elaboration Likelihood and Moderating Effect Model (Slides)

Megan Boler, University of Toronto, Affect, Elections, and Social Media: Understanding the Emotional Dimensions of Propaganda

Moderator: Hyunjin Seo, Berkman Klein & KU

Session 3: Q&A on Manuscript Submissions to International Journal of Communication Special Issue and Misinformation Review

Rob Faris, Berkman Klein; Hyunjin Seo, Berkman Klein & KU; Irene Pasquetto, Shorenstein

Session 4: Detecting Disinformation Paths and Patterns

Craig Corcoran, New Knowledge; Renee DiResta, New Knowledge; David Morar, George Washington University; Garrett Honke, Binghamton University; Numa Dhamani, New Knowledge; David Sullivan, New Knowledge; Jeffrey Gleason, New Knowledge; Paul Azunre, Algorine Inc.; Steve Kramer, New Knowledge; Becky Ruppel, New Knowledge, Disinformation: Detect to Disrupt (Slides)

Franziska B. Keller, Hong Kong Institute of Science and Technology; David Schoch, University of Manchester; Sebastian Stier, GESIS; JungHwan Yang, University of Illinois, Understanding Coordination Patterns of Disinformation Campaigns in Multiple Countries (Slides)

Philipe de Freitas Melo, UMFG; Carolina Coimbra Vieira, UMFG; Kiran Garimella, MIT; Fabrício Benevenuto, UMFG; Pedro O. S. Vaz de Melo, UMFG, Understanding the Limits of Information Dissemination on Whatsapp

Svitlana Volkova, Pacific Northwest; Maria Glenski, Pacific Northwest; Ellyn Ayton, Pacific Northwest, Multilingual Multimodal Digital Deception Detection and Disinformation Spread across Social Platforms

Moderator: Rob Faris, Berkman Klein

Session 5: Digital Disparities and Political Polarization

Sangeeta Mahapatra, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Political Polarization of First-time Voters: The Role of Disinformation in Strengthening Bias of Indian Youth in the 2019 General Election (Slides)

Tenford Chitanana, University of Technology Sydney, Disinformation and Digital Disparities in Fledgling Democracies. A Case Study of Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe

Ozan Kuru, University of Pennsylvania; Scott Campbell, University of Michigan; Joe Bayer, Ohio State University, Lemi Baruh, Koc University; Rich Ling, Nanyang Technological University; Zeynep Cemalcilar, Koc University, Understanding Information and News Processing in WhatsApp Groups: A Comparative Survey of User Perceptions and Practices in Turkey, Singapore, and the USA

Taeyoung Lee, University of Texas-Austin, Digital Disinformation in South Korea: How “KakaoTalk” and “Chirashi” Contribute to the Spread of Disinformation

Marco Konopacki, New York University; Debora Albu, Institute for Technology & Society of Rio; Diego Cerqueira, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; Thayane Guimarães, Institute for Technology & Society of Rio, Hablatam: Digital Literacy and Disinformation in Youth Contexts

Session 6: Framework & Taxonomy 

Anya Schiffrin, Columbia University, Supply Versus Demand Side: Towards an Analytic Framework and a Taxonomy of Solutions for the Problem of Online Mis/disinformation (Slides)

Lucas Reis, Zygon Adtech; Nina Santos, Brazilian National Institute on Science and Technology on Digital Democracy, Understanding the Information Paths between Private, Semi-private and Public Digital Communication Arenas: A Key Framework to the Spread of Disinformation in Brazil (Slides)

Jacob Groshek, Kansas State University; and Sanders Andreas Schwartz, RUC: Political Disinformation Seems to Be Everywhere, But How Can We Compare?   (Slides)

Paola Ricaurte, Tecnológico de Monterrey; Jessica Dheere, SMEX, Misinformation Regulation: A Comparative Study of Emerging Trends in the Global South

Kiran Garimella, MIT; Dean Eckles, MIT, Image-based Misinformation on WhatsApp (Slides)

Session 7: Research to Practice

Michael Baldassaro and David Carroll, Digital Threats Project, The Carter Center, Identifying and Tracking Disinformation during the May 2019 South Africa Elections: Analytical and Methodological Lessons from a Carter Center Pilot Mission (Slides)

Suzanne Devai, Sonia Whitehead and Yvonne Macpherson, BBC Media Action, Comparative Approaches to Disinformation: Contrasting Case Studies from Myanmar and Iraq

John Gray, Andrea Chong Bras, Scott Appling, Avery Davis-Roberts and Matthew Blomberg, Credibility Coalition, Misinformation: We’re Four Steps Behind Its Creators; Is Media Literacy the Antidote to Disinformation? (Slides)

Tarunima Prabhakar, University of California-Berkeley & Tattle, Considerations in Archiving Misinformation from Encrypted Messaging Apps 

Jonas Kaiser, Berkman Klein; Adrian Rauchfleisch, National Taiwan University; Yasodora Córdova, World Bank, Fighting Zika with Honey: An Analysis of YouTube’s Video Recommendations on Brazilian

Session 8: Government and Civic Responses to Disinformation

Filippo Lancieri, University of Chicago; Caio Mario da Silva Pereira Neto, Law School of São Paulo, Operation Fake News: The Brazilian Judiciary and the Battle against Misinformation

Anthony Nadler, Ursinus College; Matthew Crain, Miami University, North American and European Policy Frameworks for Responding to Political Manipulation via Digital Advertising

Jose Mari Hall Lanuza, University of the Philippines; Jonathan Corpus Ong, University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Ross Tapsell, Australian National University, Evolutions of “Fake News” from the South: Tracking Disinformation Innovations and Interventions between the 2016 and 2019 Philippines Elections

Salma El idrissi, Cornell University; Drew Margolin, Cornell University, Fact-checking and Media Heritage: A Cross-national Study

Moderator: Costanza Sciubba Caniglia, Shorenstein

Disinformation Workshop Co-organizers:

Rob Faris, Berkman Klein Center 

Hyunjin Seo, Berkman Klein Center & KU

Joan Donovan, Shorenstein Center 

Irene Pasquetto, Shorenstein Center 

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