Dialogue: Disinformation Campaigns and How to Spot Them

May 6, 2020

With a recent flood of information about COVID-19, it's hard to know what's true and what's not. And as we head to the presidential polls in just 6 months, it's never been more important to understand if and how information has been manipulated. One study suggests Tennesseeans were among those most likely to retweet Russian disinformation during the 2016 presidential election. WUOT News took an in-depth look at how and why false information spreads on the internet with three disinformation experts. 

Jane Lytvynenko is a senior disinformation reporter at BuzzFeed News and based in Toronto. Her work focuses on debunking misinformation, and disproving viral conspiracies, and tracking digital disinformation campaigns. 

Dr. Natalie Rice is a researcher at the University of Tennessee here. She specializes in disinformation, propaganda and information warfare. Her dissertation research led to a grant-funded project at the university that looks at the how Russia is testing disinformation campaigns in former Soviet Union countries. 

 

Dr. Kate Starbird is a computer science and engineering professor at the University of Washington. Her recent work centers on how people share information during crisis situations, and how disinformation spreads in this context. She is also one of the lead investigators at the University’s Center for an Informed Public. 

Editor's note: A version of this program posted Wednesday, May 6, contained two edits that altered the content of the show. That version has been replaced with an unaltered version. As a rule, we present Dialogue substantially as it aired, editing only for technical problems or time. We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience.