rvenkat + conspiracy_theories   23

The New Conspiracists | Dissent Magazine
--misleading title, the article is more about use of disinformation, conspiratorial factoids with the dismantling of democratic institutions and administrative state in mind.
dissent_mag  administrative_state  institutions  conspiracy_theories  epidemiology_of_representations  political_psychology  cultural_cognition  dmce  networks  teaching  ? 
january 2018 by rvenkat
Mapping the anti-vaccination movement on Facebook: Information, Communication & Society: Vol 0, No 0
Over the past decade, anti-vaccination rhetoric has become part of the mainstream discourse regarding the public health practice of childhood vaccination. These utilise social media to foster online spaces that strengthen and popularise anti-vaccination discourses. In this paper, we examine the characteristics of and the discourses present within six popular anti-vaccination Facebook pages. We examine these large-scale datasets using a range of methods, including social network analysis, gender prediction using historical census data, and generative statistical models for topic analysis (Latent Dirichlet allocation). We find that present-day discourses centre around moral outrage and structural oppression by institutional government and the media, suggesting a strong logic of ‘conspiracy-style’ beliefs and thinking. Furthermore, anti-vaccination pages on Facebook reflect a highly ‘feminised’ movement ‒ the vast majority of participants are women. Although anti-vaccination networks on Facebook are large and global in scope, the comment activity sub-networks appear to be ‘small world’. This suggests that social media may have a role in spreading anti-vaccination ideas and making the movement durable on a global scale.
conspiracy_theories  social_media  social_networks  contagion  sentiment_analysis  topic_model  networks  teaching  via:zeynep 
december 2017 by rvenkat
[1705.06947] The Web Centipede: Understanding How Web Communities Influence Each Other Through the Lens of Mainstream and Alternative News Sources
As the number and the diversity of news outlets on the Web grow, so does the opportunity for "alternative" sources of information to emerge. Using large social networks like Twitter and Facebook, misleading, false, or agenda-driven information can quickly and seamlessly spread online, deceiving people or influencing their opinions. Also, the increased engagement of tightly knit communities, such as Reddit and 4chan, further compounds the problem, as their users initiate and propagate alternative information, not only within their own communities, but also to different ones as well as various social media. In fact, these platforms have become an important piece of the modern information ecosystem, which, thus far, has not been studied as a whole.
In this paper, we begin to fill this gap by studying mainstream and alternative news shared on Twitter, Reddit, and 4chan. By analyzing millions of posts around several axes, we measure how mainstream and alternative news flows between these platforms. Our results indicate that alt-right communities within 4chan and Reddit can have a surprising level of influence on Twitter, providing evidence that "fringe" communities often succeed in spreading alternative news to mainstream social networks and the greater Web.

-- another paper illustrating the importance of inter-network and intra-network structure and dynamics, network specific virality.

--useful for lectures on contagion?

-- dilute versions with context for in-a-hurry students

https://phys.org/news/2017-11-fringe-reddit-4chan-high-alternative.html

https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2017/11/10/how-twitter-outrage-hatches-in-tiny-fringe-groups-on-4chan-and-reddit/
conspiracy_theories  misinformation  disinformation  social_media  social_networks  networked_public_sphere  epidemiology_of_representations  network_data_analysis  networks  teaching 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Rumor Has It: The Adoption of Unverified Information in Conflict Zones | International Studies Quarterly | Oxford Academic
Rumors run rife in areas affected by political instability and conflict. Their adoption plays a key role in igniting many forms of violence, including riots, ethnic conflict, genocide, and war. While unverified at the time of transmission, some rumors are widely treated as truth, while others are dismissed as implausible or false. What factors lead individuals to embrace rumors and other forms of unverified information? This article presents a new theoretical framework for understanding individual receptivity to rumors and tests it using original survey data gathered in insurgency-affected areas of Thailand and the Philippines. We find wide variation in rumor adoption, and argue that three factors drive individuals to embrace rumors: worldview, threat perception, and prior exposure. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find no evidence that commonly cited factors—including education, income, age, and gender—determine individual receptivity to rumors. We also explore the implications of belief in rumors on conflict dynamics. We find that greater receptivity to rumors correlates with the belief that ongoing conflict is intractable. This suggests that rumors can not only help spark political violence, but also impede its resolution. Our findings shed light on the complex interaction between worldview and unverified information in shaping popular beliefs—and through them, political contention and competition—in conflict areas and beyond.
public_opinion  common_knowledge  ?  conspiracy_theories  cultural_cognition  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan  models_of_behavior 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Epistemic beliefs’ role in promoting misperceptions and conspiracist ideation
Widespread misperceptions undermine citizens’ decision-making ability. Conclusions based on falsehoods and conspiracy theories are by definition flawed. This article demonstrates that individuals’ epistemic beliefs–beliefs about the nature of knowledge and how one comes to know–have important implications for perception accuracy. The present study uses a series of large, nationally representative surveys of the U.S. population to produce valid and reliable measures of three aspects of epistemic beliefs: reliance on intuition for factual beliefs (Faith in Intuition for facts), importance of consistency between empirical evidence and beliefs (Need for evidence), and conviction that “facts” are politically constructed (Truth is political). Analyses confirm that these factors complement established predictors of misperception, substantively increasing our ability to explain both individuals’ propensity to engage in conspiracist ideation, and their willingness to embrace falsehoods about high-profile scientific and political issues. Individuals who view reality as a political construct are significantly more likely to embrace falsehoods, whereas those who believe that their conclusions must hew to available evidence tend to hold more accurate beliefs. Confidence in the ability to intuitively recognize truth is a uniquely important predictor of conspiracist ideation. Results suggest that efforts to counter misperceptions may be helped by promoting epistemic beliefs emphasizing the importance of evidence, cautious use of feelings, and trust that rigorous assessment by knowledgeable specialists is an effective guard against political manipulation.
cultural_cognition  political_psychology  misinformation  disinformation  conspiracy_theories  social_construction_of_ignorance  social_construction_of_knowledge  everything_is_political  dmce  teaching 
september 2017 by rvenkat

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