Muddied Waters: Online Disinformation during Crisis Events
Lecture by HCDE Assistant Professor Kate Starbird delivered in April 2018 as part of the UW Office of the Provost's lecture series on confronting fake news and misinformation.
Recent public debate around “fake news” has highlighted the growing challenge of determining information veracity online—a complex problem at the intersection of technology, human cognition, and human behavior. Our strategies for making sense of information make us vulnerable (especially online) to absorbing and passing along misinformation. Certain actors exploit these vulnerabilities, spreading intentional misinformation—or disinformation—for various reasons, including geopolitical goals. Drawing on research conducted on online rumors in the context of crisis response, this talk explores what “conspiracy theories” of crisis events reveal about “fake news”, political propaganda, and disinformation online.