March 6-7, 2012http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/truthiness/
As the networked media environment increasingly permeates private and public life, driven in part by the rapid and extensive travels of news, information and commentary, our systems for identifying and responding to misinformation and propaganda are failing us, creating serious risk to everything from personal and financial health to fundamental democratic processes and governance. In this age when many would argue that news and information have become key ingredients of broad social progress, our supply is tainted. Concerns about misinformation and disinformation are nothing new. Indeed, many tried and true techniques for disseminating misinformation remain just as vibrant in our current communications and information era. But digital media present new challenges to existing institutions, structures and processes, jeopardizing its potential contributions to the health of political, economic, and social systems.
While opinions differ over how digital media ameliorates and exacerbates the spread and influence of misinformation, this multifaceted issue persists in the face of thoughtful, sustained, and creative responses—and demonstrates a great diversity of manifestations, roots, and harms. The motives for spreading misinformation are many. They may be partisan or commercial, may derive from or evoke moral and religious sensibilities, may offer political or social commentary, or may be merely whimsical. But what to do? Building upon recent convenings and a number of related projects, we are taking a critical step towards a deeper understanding of the problem with a keen eye towards collectively identifying novel solutions and concrete actions to combat the deleterious impacts of misinformation in the near term and over time.
This symposium will focus on exploring the many facets of this complex issue with an eye to crafting tools and strategies to ameliorate the negative impacts of deception, bias, and inaccuracy in the digital media ecosystem. We hope to come to a better position to take advantage of the benefits promised by digital media while appreciating the positive aspects of creative media-making and probing the blurred boundaries between nefarious and beneficial media shaping practices.
From academics to activists, techno geeks to policy geeks, and media scholars to media makers, participants will span a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds and expertise to promote cross-disciplinary learning and to facilitate the formation of novel and holistic approaches to these complex issues. The one-day public conference will include approximately 100 participants to balance inclusiveness with a participatory setting. It will draw upon a variety of formats to complement the topics, disciplinary approaches, and available participants, including selected presentations, case studies, tool demonstrations, and roundtable discussions. We hope to provide ample white space between sessions for people to process ideas, connect with one another, and generate new insights and approaches regarding the nature and complexity of the problem, relevant narratives and illustrative use cases, new areas of vulnerability and concern, and the relative merits of existing strategies to combat misinformation.
The final session on March 6, 2012 is intended to provide a bridge between the day’s discussions and the Hack day, with a focus on interventions, tools, and useful strategies for a variety of users operating in today’s digital communications environment. Hosted at the Media Lab, the Hack Day will provide for a series of working sessions, informed by the conference and designed to maximize focus and productivity. It will endeavor to conceive and prototype tools, processes and other resources to confront the challenges identified in the previous days.
We are delighted to have a diverse range of experts, scholars, commentators, practitioners, and users as participants and speakers in the Symposium. Our hope is to create a highly interactive environment that will encourage conversation, provocation, debate, and input from all participants throughout the day. We will provide numerous mechanisms for commentary, both in the lead up to and after the symposium, from our blog to the Hack Day on March 7, 2012. Moderators and session leads will also be looking to the crowd to deepen and enrich all sessions and approach these complex issues from multiple dimensions, disciplines, and perspectives.
- Please add links to papers, articles, blogposts, and other items related to internet misinformation and of interest to symposium participants to this page. Users need to create an account to edit this wiki -- click on the link in the top right corner of this page to obtain a username/password.
- Barlett, Jamie and Carl Miller truth, lies and the internet a report into young people’s digital fluency
- Barlett, Jamie and Carl Miller the power of unreason
- Battles, Matthew. Distributed Ghosts in the Machine The Atlantic, March 28, 2011.
- Yochai Benkler. Seven Lessons from SOPA/PIPA/Megaupload and Four Proposals on Where We Go From Here TechPresident, January 25, 2012.
- DeSantis, Nick. New media consortium names 10 top ‘metatrends’ shaping educational technology The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 3, 2012.
- Diakopoulos, N., Goldenberg, S. and Essa, I., Videolyzer: Quality Analysis of Online Informational Video for Bloggers and Journalists. Proceedings of CHI, (2009). 
- Dobbs, Michael S The Rise of Political Fact-checking - How Reagan Inspired a Journalistic Movement: A Reporter’s Eye View
- Dunbar, John. Super PACs out-raise candidates, thanks to super donors Consider the Source, iWatch News, Center for Public Integrity, February 21, 2012.
- Electronic Privacy Information Center. E-Deceptive Campaign Practices: Technology and Democracy 2.0 Report 2010 October 2010.
- Epelboin, Fabrice. Did the French Govt. Ask Twitter to Suspend Satirical Accounts? Read Write Web, February 19, 2012.
- Falcon, Ernesto. Who Really Engaged in Misinformation? Public Knowledge, February 9, 2012.
- Ferraro, Nicle. RIAA CEO Hopes SOPA Protests Were a 'One-Time Thing' Internet Evolution, February 29, 2012.
- Gasser, U., Cortesi, S., Malik, M., & Lee, A. (2012). Youth and digital media: From credibility to information quality. Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Retrieved March 5, 2012 from http://ssrn.com/abstract=2005272.
- Graves, Lucas and Tom Glaisyer. The Fact-Checking Universe in Spring 2012: An Overview
- Heinzelman, Jessica and Patrick Meier. "Crowdsourcing for Human Rights Monitoring: Challenges and Opportunities for Information Collection and Verification" in Lannon, J. and Halpin E.F. (2012) Human Rights and Information Communication Technologies: Trends and Consequences of Use. IGI Global.
- Howard, P. N., Agarwal, S. D., & Hussain, M. M. (2011). When Do States Disconnect Their Digital Networks? Regime Responses to the Political Uses of Social Media. The Communication Review, Twitter Revolutions? Addressing Social Media and Dissent, 14(3), 216-232.
- Howard, P. N., Agarwal, S. D., & Hussain, M. M. (2011). The Dictators’ Digital Dilemma (No. 13). Issues in Technology and Innovation (pp. 1-11). Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.
- Howard, P. N., Duffy, A., Freelon, D., Hussain, M. M., Mari, W., & Mazaid, M. (2011). Opening Closed Regimes: What was the role of social media during the Arab Spring? National Science Foundation-funded Information Technology and Political Islam project (pp. 1-30). Seattle, WA: Center for Communication and Civic Engagement.
- Howard, P. N., & Hussain, M. M. (2011). The Role of Digital Media. Journal of Democracy, The Upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia, 22(3), 35-48.
- Howard, P. N., Hussain, M. M., Freelon, D., Mari, W., & Duffy, A. (2011). Digital Media and Contagious Democracy: Lessons from the Arab Spring. Dallas, TX: Bush Institute for Human Freedom.
- Hussain, Muzammil M. Journalism’s digital disconnect: The growth of campaign content and entertainment gatekeepers in viral political information Journalism, January 24, 2012.
- Indiana University Center for Complex Networks & Systems Research. The Truthy Project Truthy is a research project that helps you understand how memes spread online. We collect tweets from Twitter and analyze them. With our statistics, images, movies, and interactive data, you can explore these dynamic networks.
- Indiana University Center for Complex Networks & Systems Research. Information Diffusion in Online Social Networks The focus of this research project is understanding how information propagates through complex networks. Leveraging large-scale behavioral trace data from online social networking platforms we are able to analyze and model the spread of information, from political discourse to market trends, in unprecedented detail.
- Jacobs, Frank. The First Google Maps War The New York Times, February 28, 2012.
- Keller, Jared. When campaigners manipulate social media The Atlantic, November 10, 2010.
- Kleiner, Kurt. Bogus grass-roots politics on Twitter: Data-mining techniques reveal fake Twitter accounts that give the impression of a vast political movement Technology Review, November 2, 2010.
- Lakely, Jim. Heartland Institute Responds to Stolen and Fake Documents Heartland Institute, February 15, 2012.
- Lotan, Gilad Breaking Bin Laden: Visualizing the Power of a Single Tweet
- Lotan, Gilad Timing, Network, Topicality: a revealing look at how Whitney Houston's death news spread on Twitter
- Lotan, Graeff, Ananny, Gaffney, Pearce, and boyd (2011). "The Revolutions Were Tweeted: Information Flows during the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions." International Journal of Communications 5, Feature 1375-1405
- Meier, Patrick. Information Forensics: How to Verify Crowdsourced Information from Social Media iRevolution, November 29, 2011.
- Meier, Patrick. How To Use Technology To Counter Rumors During Crises iRevolution, March 26, 2011.
- Meier, Patrick. Wag the Dog, or How Falsifying Crowdsourced Data Can Be a Pain iRevolution, April 8, 2010.
- Meier, Patrick. Seeking the Trustworthy Tweet iRevolution, June 5, 2011.
- Meier, Patrick. Why Bounded Crowdsourcing is Important for Information Verification iRevolution, December 7, 2011.
- Meier, Patrick. Analyzing the Veracity of Tweets during a Major Crisis iRevolution, September 19, 2010.
- Meier, Patrick. Trails of Trustworthiness in Real-Time Streams iRevolution, March 3, 2012.
- Meier, Patrick. Crowdsourcing Honesty? iRevolution, January 2, 2009.
- Meier, Patrick. Crowdsourcing vs Vladimir Putin: Digital Sabotaging iRevolution, December 4, 2011.
- Meier, Patrick. The Crowdsourcing Detective: Crisis, Deception and Intrigue in the Twittersphere iRevolution, June 30, 2010.
- Meier, Patrick. How to Use Facebook if You Are a Repressive Regime iRevolution, February 10, 2011.
- Messer-Kruse, Timothy The ‘Undue Weight’ of Truth on Wikipedia The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 12, 2012.
- Metaxas, Panagiotis. Web spam, social propaganda and the evolution of search engine rankings Lecture Notes BIP, Springer-Verlag, 2010.
- Metaxas, Panagiotis and Eni Mustafaraj. From obscurity to prominence in prominence in minutes: political speech and real-time search Web Science 2010 Conference, Raleigh, NC, April 2010.
- Meyer, Pamela. How to spot a lie CNN.com, November 14, 2011.
- Moy, P., & Hussain, M. M. (2011). Media Influences on Political Trust and Engagement. In R. Y. Shapiro & L. R. Jacobs (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of American Public Opinion and the Media (pp. 220-235). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
- Mustafaraj, Eni; Samantha Finn, Carolyn Whitlock and Panagiotis Metaxas. Vocal minority versus silent majority: discovering the opinions of the long tail IEEE SocialCom Conference, Boston, MA, October, 2011.
- Mustafaraj, Eni and Panagiotis Metaxas. Trails of trustiworthiness in real-time streams Design, Influence and Social Technologies, ACM Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Seattle, WA, February, 2012.
- Nahon, K., Helmsley, J., Hussain, M. M., & Walker, S. (2011). Viral Political Information in the US Elections Metabase, 2008 [Data Set]. Seattle, WA: Information and Society Center.
- Nahon, K., Hemsley, J., Walker, S., & Hussain, M. M. (2011). Fifteen Minutes of Fame: The Power of Blogs in the Lifecycle of Viral Political Information. Policy & Internet, 3(1).
- Newman, Melanie. PR firm ‘attacked’ critics of Rwandan government Bureau of Investigative Journalism, December 6, 2011.
- Newmark, Craig. Is this a real big step toward holding politicians accountable? Craigconnects.org, February 21, 2012.
- Nyhan, Brendan and Jason Reifler. Misinformation and Fact-checking Research Findings from Social Science
- Plait, Phil. Breaking news: A look behind the curtain of the Heartland Institute’s climate change spin Discover Magazine, February 15, 2012.
- Rosen, Jay. NPR Tries to Get its Pressthink Right Press Think, February 26, 2012.
- Silverman, Craig. “Death Panels” Report Reaches Depressing Conclusions Columbia Journalism Review. May 27, 2011.
- Silverman, Craig. The Backfire Effect: More on the press’s inability to debunk bad information Columbia Journalism Review. June 17, 2011.
- Silverman, Craig. Misinformation Propagation: Scientists work to combat false memes Columbia Journalism Review, November 4, 2011.
- Silverman, Craig. The Truth about Public Untruths: Are journalists and others equipped to beat back the lies? Columbia Journalism Review, December 2, 2011.
- Lai Stirland, Sarah. Google is latest weapon vs. GOP Politico, October 18, 2010.
- Steele, Robert. Robert Steele: Itemization of Information Pathologies Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 3 March 2012
- Steele, Robert. PREPRINT FOR COMMENT: The Craft of IntelligencePhi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 17 February 2012
- Steele, Robert. THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books / Evolver Editions, 5 June 2012
- Sullivan, Andrew. Wikipedia is not Truth The Daily Dish, February 20, 2012.
- York, Geoffrey. How a U.S. agency cleaned up Rwanda’s genocide-stained image Globe and Mail, January 31, 2012.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT DINNERS
- Food for Thought dinners are self-organized gatherings that allow conference attendees to engage in informal, themed conversation with other conference participants, and will take place on Tuesday, March 6th after the cocktail reception.
- If you would like to propose / organize a food for thought dinner:
- Please add the proposal in the one of the slots below, with your name and contact information
- Attendance is limited to eight people per dinner, including the organizer
- Choose a restaurant and make a reservation by
- We'll be reserving tables at the following restaurants:
- If you would like to join one of the dinners:
- Add your name to one of the slots below by
- If you decide not to attend a dinner to which you are signed up, please delete yourself from the list.
- For restaurants in Harvard Square, expect approximately a 10 minute walk from HLS campus. For restaurants in Porter Square, expect approximately a 15 minute walk.
In Vino, Veritas...?
- 7:30pm, The Restaurant Chang-Sho, 1712 Massachusetts Ave
- Daniel Jones
- Rebekah Heacock
- Becca Tabasky
- Jim Fingal
- Muzammil Hussain
- Michael Conover
- Insert name
- Insert name
Josh Benton/Craig Silverman, What does a good online debunking page look like?
- 7:30, Tamarind Bay, 75 Winthrop St
- Josh Benton
- Craig Silverman
- Aaron Naparstek
- Austen Levihn-Coon
- Insert name
- Insert name
- Insert name
- Insert name
Tractable Tools and Experiments
- 7:30pm Grafton Street: 1230 Massachusetts Ave
- Nick Diakopoulos
- Paul Resnick
- Sidharth Chhabra
- Holly Teresi
- J. Nathan Matias (@natematias)
- Elena Agapie
- We welcome you to submit a blogpost for our conference website before, during and after the event. If you’re interested in submitting a blogpost, please contact Berkman staff members Amar Ashar (ashar at cyber.law.harvard.edu) or Kori Urayama (kurayama at cyber.law.harvard.edu ).
- Blogposts should ideally:
- Be 250-1,000 words in length
- Can cover any issues, phenomena, visions, or questions that you think may be helpful in understanding a host of topics that will (or should) be dealt with at the conference;
- Could include interesting examples of tools of misinformation, historical or new-media focused case studies, or focus on a specific mode, process or method—something that you are excited about;
- Be new and original, but cross-postings are welcome/encouraged.