Greetings, readers. The Data & Society newsletter returns with a special Friday afternoon edition: We are diving into 2017 with a brand new cluster of six essays on
These pieces begin to address different facets of the ongoing public conversation around “fake news,” propaganda, hate speech, and the US election. As an extension of our Algorithms and Publics project, we have been tracking mis/disinformation campaigns for the last several months, observing different networks seeking to manipulate both old and new media, shape political discourse, and undermine trust in institutions and information intermediaries.
We are concerned about the rise of new forms of propaganda that are networked, decentralized, and Internet and data-savvy. We are also concerned about the evolution of harassment techniques and gaslighting, the vulnerability of old and new media to being conduits for fear and disinformation, and the ways in which well-intended interventions can be misappropriated. A healthy response, we think, is going to require engagement by many different constituencies, and we’re aiming to help inform and ground the conversation.
These essays are our initial attempts to address the complex of issues we’re seeing:
We know that many of our readers are also working on these issues. We invite feedback and critique, additions and suggestions, links and pointers.
In our six new pieces, we discuss everything from civic infrastructure to propaganda to hate speech to the costs of media literacy. There are many other, interwoven themes and issues. What should we be reading and sharing with our community? What kinds of questions should we be asking? Gentle readers, what keeps you up at night?
Please let us know at [email protected].
And if you’re working on these topics and want to be invited to events that we’re hosting, we want to know that too!
In addition to a workshop for researchers on Propaganda and Media Manipulation (application deadline: February 15), we intend to host a series of conversations about these issues, alongside our continued work on media, accountability, and the public sphere. Please stay tuned to this newsletter for more information, and keep us posted about work you’re doing so that we can invite you as appropriate to smaller events.
(And if you missed our 2016, year-end newsletter, dig it up here!)