Pervasive misinformation — and its more nefarious cousin, disinformation — can be harmful to our ability to collectively respond to crisis events, to public health, and to democracy more broadly. In this talk, I’ll describe our work at the Center for an Informed Public which seeks to build collaborative tools and systems for “rapid response” to misleading content online (and beyond). I’ll present some of the findings from our first deployment of the Election Integrity Partnership, which tracked hundreds of distinct “incidents” of false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims about election processes during the 2020 U.S. election. I’ll describe how these “participatory disinformation” flows were leveraged for political mobilization that led to the events of January 6, 2021. And I’ll explain why my colleagues and I are returning to an old lens of “rumoring” as we continue our rapid response work around the 2022 U.S. midterm election.
In-person food will be available at 11:45 PM, Zoom will open at 12:00 PM, the talk will start at 12:15 PM.
Kate Starbird is an Associate Professor at the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington (UW). Dr. Starbird’s research sits at the intersection of human-computer interaction and the field of crisis informatics — i.e. the study of the how social media and other information-communication technologies are used during crisis events. Currently, her work focuses on the production and spread of online rumors, misinformation, and disinformation during crises — including natural disasters, political disruptions, and a global pandemic. In particular, she investigates the participatory nature of online disinformation campaigns, exploring both top-down and bottom-up dynamics. Dr. Starbird received her BS in Computer Science from Stanford (1997) and her PhD in Technology, Media and Society from the University of Colorado (2012). She is a co-founder and currently serves as director of the UW Center for an Informed Public.