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Fake News

Real Issues in Modern Communication


Edited By Russell Chun and Susan J. Drucker

In this dizzying post-truth, post-fact, fake news era, the onslaught and speed of potentially untrue, incorrect, or fabricated information (some crafted and weaponized, some carelessly shared) can cause a loss of our intellectual bearings. If we fail to have a common truthful basis for discussions of opinion and policy, the integrity of our democracy is at risk.

This up-to-date anthology is designed to provide a survey of technological, ethical, and legal issues raised by falsehoods, particularly social media misinformation. The volume explores visual and data dissemination, business practices, international perspectives, and case studies. With misinformation and misleading information being propagated using a variety of media such as memes, data, charts, photos, tweets, posts, and articles, an understanding of the theory, mechanisms, and changing communication landscape is essential to move in the right direction with academic, industry, and government initiatives to inoculate ourselves from the dangers of fake news. The book takes an international and multidisciplinary approach with contributions from media studies, journalism, computer science, the law, and communication, making it distinct among books on fake news.

This book is essential for graduate or undergraduate students in courses dealing with fake news and communication studies. Relevant courses include media studies, journalism, public relations, media ethics, media law, social media, First Amendment law, philosophy, and political science.

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4. Understanding the Demand-side of Misinformation and Analyzing Solutions (Subramaniam Vincent)


Understanding the Demand-side of Misinformation and Analyzing Solutions

Subramaniam Vincent

The harm has been done. By most accounts millions of citizens have already been consuming digital misinformation and its more sinister sibling, disinformation. The example of Leonard Pozner, a Sandy Hook parent, is gut-wrenching. Pozner’s son Noah, was six when a gunman shot and killed him along with 19 other kids and six adults at Sandy Hook elementary school, Connecticut, in 2012. But the parents have had to deal with two tragedies, not one. First, the loss of their son. Second, Leonard Pozner has been the victim of death threats (Beckett, 2017) and online hate as he took on conspiracy theorists and their supporters who call the Sandy Hook mass-shooting a hoax (“Sandy Hook Father …,” 2018).


One approach to understand digital misinformation and disinformation is through the supply-demand paradigm. If there is demand, there will be supply. And in the case of misinformation in our digital era, the converse also applies—if there is supply, not only will demand arise, it can be fostered, fed forward and amplified.

Indeed, the spread of digital misinformation at scale shows a predictable pattern of supply-side orchestration catalyzing demand-side proclivity to both prepare the soil and reap the harvest. Fighting misinformation on the supply-side are the tech platform firms Facebook, Twitter, and Google, with ongoing efforts to identify, stop or slow down its seeding and distribution. Today, with the rise of...

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