Many thanks for your participation in our “Truthiness in Digital Media” Symposium and Hack Day on March 6-7. It was an exciting opportunity to advance a shared understanding of the challenges of discerning trustworthiness, bad facts and framing, and to consider our own biases in the context of the increasingly complicated networked media ecosystem. Our progress was fueled by diverse and talented group of people who lead and engaged in the sessions. Indeed, we offer our most hearty thanks for your insights, energy and commitment. Continue reading →
Panagiotis "Takis" Metaxas is a Professor of Computer Science and Founder of the Media Arts and Sciences Program at Wellesley College.
Below are my annotated notes of a talk I gave at Berkman’s Truthiness in Digital Media Symposium a few weeks ago. I introduced the concept of Social Theorems, as a way of formulating the findings of the research that is happening the last few years in the study of Social Media. Continue reading →
Jim Fingal is the co-author of the book The Lifespan of a Fact, a book Publishers Weekly describes as “very apropos in our era of spruced-up autobiography and fabricated reporting,” adding that “this is a whip-smart, mordantly funny, thought-provoking rumination on journalistic responsibility and literary license.” He worked several years as a fact-checker and editorial assistant at The Believer and McSweeneys, where he worked on the titlesWhat is the What, Surviving Justice, Voices from the Storm, and others. He currently lives in Cambridge and works as a software developer.
Patrick Meier (PhD) is the Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi and the co-Founder of
the Crisis Mappers Network.
I asked the following question at the Berkman Center’s recent Symposium on Truthiness in Digital Media: “Should we think of truthiness in terms of probabili-ties rather than use a True or False dichotomy?” The wording here is important. The word “truthiness” already suggests a subjective fuzziness around the term. Expressing truthiness as probabilities provides more contextual information than does a binary true or false answer. Continue reading →
Aaron is a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on political and economic dimensions of collective action online.
As part of the Truthiness hackathon, a group of us wanted to design empirical studies to investigate how (mis)information works and how it effects people’s behavior. After some brainstorming, we decided to focus on the following three topics: Continue reading →
J. Nathan Matias is a research assistant at the MIT Center for Civic Media and Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist, blogger, podcaster, and experienced trainer of scientists in the art of communication.
Mounting evidence from a variety of fields—psychology, political science, communications–suggests that facts, alone, rarely suffice to change minds in contested areas. Rather, this research suggests that different “frames” or “narratives” can make contested facts appear more or less threatening, depending upon the context in which those facts are embedded. What seems to matter most for persuasion, then, is whether particular facts are framed in such a way as to support, or challenge, one’s personal and political values. Continue reading →
Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Assistant Director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation at University of Texas at Austin.
As I’m flying home after such a stimulating conference, my mind is swirling with new ideas and a keen interest in learning what the symposium participants do next. In reflecting on the discussion, an idea that I keep returning to is the role of motivation. Continue reading →
Matt Stempeck is a researcher at the Center for Civic Media at MIT Media Lab. He's building LazyTruth with the help of two friends (and all-around geniuses), Justin Nowell and Stefan Fox.
The last two days of the Truthiness conference, co-hosted by the Berkman Center for the Internet & Society and MIT’s Center for Civic Media, exposed a rich cross-section of people, research, and applications dedicated to fighting misinformation in its many forms. We spent the day Tuesday discussing the wide world of facts and falsehoods, with an embarrassing collection of brains on hand to inform us on the history, cognitive psychology, and best practices of encouraging a healthy respect for reality. The challenge ahead, now that all the mini eclairs are gone, is to convert the goodwill, knowledge, and collaboration generated by this conference into a united front against delusion. Here’s my pitch. Continue reading →
Jillian C. York is the Director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She writes regularly about free expression, politics, and the Internet, with particular focus on the Arab world.
During the uprisings that swept Tunisia and Egypt in 2011, digital activists’ main adversary were their governments which, in the case of the former, censored scores of websites and conducted man-in-the-middle attacks on Facebook users and, in the case of the latter, shut down the Internet entirely after two days of protests shook the capital. Continue reading →
Department of Communication, University of Washington / @m_m_hussain on Twitter
Problematic aspects of the democratization of truth in digital media are directly related to the leveling of gatekeeping actors in political communication environments. At the University of Washington, collaborating with the Department of Communication and the Information School researchers, we have tracked the most important viral election videos in 2008 (278 million views) and the “known-universe” of blogs linking (13,000 links) to them. This meta-database has allowed us to examine many aspects of networked gatekeeping (see: www.retroV.org for latest findings). Continue reading →
William Powers is a former Washington Post staff writer, an award-winning media critic and author of the New York Times Bestseller, Hamlet's BlackBerry. He is Director of the Bluefin Labs Election Project.
If there’s any place where trustworthy information is scarce it’s in politics. Everyone knows how candidates change their own stories while distorting those of their opponents. In an election race, it’s standard operating procedure to view the facts as endlessly malleable. Continue reading →
Nicholas Diakopoulos is an independent researcher and consultant in New York City.
One of the methods that truth seekers like journalists or social scientists often employ is corroboration. If we find two (or more) independent sources that reinforce each other, and that are credible, we gain confidence in the truth-value of a claim. Independence is key, since political, monetary, legal, or other connections can taint or at least place contingencies on the value of corroborated information. Continue reading →