Misinformation

The big picture

YouTube pulls Bolsonaro videos over COVID misinformation

YouTube said it found incorrect comments about masks and hydroxychloroquine, in breach of its rules.

Jul 22, 2021 - Technology
The search for misinformation's measure

It's harder than you might think to reliably measure its scale or impact.

Dec 9, 2020 - Technology
When U.S. politicians exploit foreign disinformation

Each time a domestic politician embraces a disinformation campaign, it proves that they work.

Aug 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy
2020 rules of the road for the Age of Misinformation

Political strategists to find ways to navigate the new rules of Big Tech.

Jan 14, 2020 - Economy & Business
Tech platforms struggle to police deepfakes

Facebook, TikTok and Reddit all updated their policies on misinformation this week.

Jan 10, 2020 - Technology
Human actors are changing the spread of disinformation

It's switching from employees to volunteers.

Oct 17, 2019 - Technology

All Misinformation stories

Aug 2, 2021 - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

The push for a "PBS for the internet"

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The concept of a new media ecosystem that's non-profit, publicly funded and tech-infused is drawing interest in policy circles as a way to shift the power dynamics in today's information wars.

Why it matters: Revamping the structure and role of public media could be part of the solution to shoring up local media, decentralizing the distribution of quality news, and constraining Big Tech platforms' amplification of harmful or false information.

Jul 30, 2021 - Technology

Lawmakers question CEOs on Spanish-language misinformation

Photo by Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

About two dozen Democratic lawmakers are sending letters to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Nextdoor requesting details about what resources the social networks are putting toward rooting out misinformation in Spanish and other non-English content in the U.S.

Why it matters: The letters follow the introduction last week of the Health Misinformation Act, which seeks to hold social media companies more accountable for misinformation on their sites.

Facebook's vaccine-misinformation mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In walking back his comments about Facebook "killing people," President Biden Monday conceded that the debate around vaccine misinformation is too complicated to be narrowed down to soundbites.

Why it matters: Inoculating people is the surest path to ending the COVID pandemic, but the U.S. vaccination drive has petered out against a tide of partisan rhetoric and suspicion fueled by misinformation.

Jul 20, 2021 - Technology

Conservative media diets tied to distrust in health officials

Expand chart
Reproduced from Annenberg Public Policy Center; Chart: Axios visuals

People who rely on conservative media have much less confidence in key public health institutions and experts, and are much more likely to believe misinformation about the vaccine, according to a new study from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Why it matters: The survey finds a widening gap between Americans who trust key health institutions and those who don't.

Jul 15, 2021 - Health

Surgeon general urges social platforms to crack down on COVID misinformation

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaking during a press briefing on Thursday at the White House. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on social media companies Thursday to curb misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines in his first health advisory since being confirmed to the position.

Why it matters: Murthy said vaccine misinformation is a factor in the country's slowing vaccination rates. More than 40% of American adults are not fully vaccinated against the virus, and new cases have slightly increased in part because of the rise of the Delta variant.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Jun 9, 2021 - Technology

Scientific journal articles vulnerable to bots

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Scientific journals are easy targets of automated software that post links to social media, often with misinformation, according to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: Automated disinformation campaigns that harness legitimate scientific research could further erode the public's understanding and trust in science, particularly around COVID-19.

Jun 7, 2021 - World

Nigeria's government threatens to prosecute people for tweeting

Buhari. Photo: Audu Marte/AFP via Getty Images

Nigeria’s government is doubling down on its decision to ban Twitter indefinitely, with regulators Monday ordering broadcasters to stop using Twitter even to gather news, and the foreign minister summoning Western ambassadors whose countries criticized the ban.

Why it matters: Twitter has been a powerful tool for younger Nigerians to mobilize, including during the massive #EndSARS protests last year against police brutality. The ban could have economic repercussions for Africa's most populous country, which has a burgeoning tech sector, and it sends an ominous signal about the country’s democracy.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
May 19, 2021 - Technology

The disinformation threat from text-generating AI

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new report lays out the ways that cutting-edge text-generating AI models could be used to aid disinformation campaigns.

Why it matters: In the wrong hands text-generating systems could be used to scale up state-sponsored disinformation efforts — and humans would struggle to know when they're being lied to.

May 17, 2021 - Technology

Parler returns to the Apple App Store

The Parler logo is seen on an Apple iPhone. Photo: Getty Images

Parler, the controversial social media app popular among conservatives, is back on the Apple App Store after being booted for its content moderation policies.

Context: Parler was kicked off the App Store after Apple deemed its content moderation policies inadequate in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot.

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