Debating Disinformation: Social Media and Electoral Manipulation in Comparative Perspective

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Comm Hub, 3rd Floor, Integrative Learning Center, UMass Amherst, 650 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003

Social media’s opaque algorithms and filter bubbles have been weaponized to spread fake news and disinformation, hijack attention, and deepen social divisiveness in this current moment of mediated populism.

In this culminating event of the Mediating Care and Justice Seminar Series of UMass SBS, four speakers from the UMass Communication Department will draw from global case studies in the US, Venezuela, and the Philippines to compare the diverse outcomes of disinformation and debate culturally appropriate intervention. The speakers' presentations will include:

  • Allison Butler: reflects on opportunities and outcomes of media literacy initiatives in libraries and public schools in the US for developing new ways to evaluate news and information in digital environments
  • Martha Fuentes-Bautista: explores the process in which disinformation networks have used populist communication in hastening political polarization and democratic backsliding in Venezuela
  • Jonathan Corpus Ong: presents from the recently published British Council-funded report “Architects of Networked Disinformation: Behind the Scenes of Troll Accounts and Fake News Production in the Philippines”
  • Wayne Weiai Xu: uses big data and social network analysis to explore #Antifa and #alt-right, two radicalized and insurgent hashtag networks in the US politics. 

Event Flyer