Everyday Misinfo to present at ICA, APSA, Data Justice, and PANCOPOP Symposium in 2023

Findings from the qualitative strand of the Everyday Misinformation Project will be presented at four major events in 2023.

The team will give two papers at the International Communication Association (ICA) Annual Conference in Toronto, 25-29 May. The ICA is the largest and most significant event for communication studies researchers globally.

In June, we have been invited to speak at the Pandemic Communication and Populism (PANCOPOP) Symposium at Loughborough University, and have also been accepted to present at Data Justice 2023, hosted by the Data Justice Lab, Cardiff University.

We are also delighted to be presenting two papers at the American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting, 31 August-3 September. APSA is the leading professional organization for the study of political science. Details of the scheduled talks can be found on the Presentations page of this website.

In these papers, we draw on rich qualitative data from longitudinal fieldwork with a diverse sample of 102 personal messaging users in the UK. This allows us to garner contextual understandings of people’s real-world relationships and social meaning-making about mediated misinformation.

Misinformation Rules?! The Potential for “Group Rules” to Reduce Misinformation in Online Personal Messaging is authored by Andrew Chadwick, Natalie-Anne Hall, and Cristian Vaccari. In this paper, we focus on a previously unexamined practice that can affect the spread of misinformation online: the creation of “group rules” by people who want to keep misleading information out of their online personal messaging networks. We explain how the distinctive hybrid public-interpersonal context of personal messaging encourages some people to create group rules, to soften platform affordances they believe cause misinformation to spread, harm their social ties, provoke conflict, or derail a group’s purpose. We demonstrate how foundational moments of rulemaking could have previously untapped advantages for combatting misinformation. This study is now published in New Media & Society.

Trusting Others: The Credibility of Numbers on Personal Messaging Platforms is authored by Brendan Lawson, Andrew Chadwick, Cristian Vaccari, and Natalie-Anne Hall. In the face of quantitative information’s alleged tendency to convey mathematical certainty and scientific rigor, this study asks how people distinguish between numerical information and numerical disinformation on personal messaging. We reveal how users negotiate the credibility of numbers through two trust-based strategies: trusting peers and trusting public discourse. Anti-misinformation efforts could focus on understanding and nurturing these trust-based strategies, and emphasizing the responsibility of those in trusted roles in personal messaging interactions.

Online Misinformation and Everyday Ontological Narratives of Social Distinction is authored by Natalie-Anne Hall, Andrew Chadwick, and Cristian Vaccari. In this paper, we show how people engage in everyday ontological narratives of social distinction in relation to misinformation. These involve people making a variety of discursive moves to position their “taste” in information consumption in a relation of superiority when compared with others they construct as lower in the social hierarchy. This serves to enhance their social status by separating themselves from misinformation, which is “other people’s problem.” We demonstrate how this could prove a barrier to citizens’ ability to recognize misinformation, and to receptivity to anti-misinformation interventions.

Members of the team will be attending each event in person. We look forward to seeing you there!

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