• EXTREMISMBuffalo Attack Footage Spread Quickly Across Platforms, Has Been Online for Days

    The livestream of the accused Buffalo shooter’s deadly attack at a Buffalo supermarket was available briefly via Twitch, but the footage spread quickly across online platforms, and remains online for public consumption.

  • EXTREMISMHow to Avoid Extremism on Social Media

    By Doug Irving

    The internet has been a haven for extremists since long before most people even knew it existed. Today, extremists share their likes and tweet their thoughts like everyone else. But they have also spun off into an ever-widening array of social media sites with greater appetites for hateful words and violent images.

  • TRUTH DECAYEncouraging Individuals to Take Action Against Truth Decay

    Facts and analysis are playing a diminishing role in American public life—a phenomenon called Truth Decay—so RAND is launching a public information campaign on social media to build understanding of Truth Decay and how individuals can tackle it by scrutinizing information they believe and share.

  • TRUTH DECAYFact Checks Effectively Counter COVID Misinformation

    By Jim Hanchet

    New study finds that journalistic fact checks are a more effective counter to COVID-19 misinformation than the false news tags commonly used by social media outlets. “We find that more information may be an antidote to misinformation,” conclude the authors of the study.

  • MISINFORMATIONDHS’s ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ Assailed by Lawmakers

    By Rob Garver

    A proposed new DHS working group focusing on countering disinformation has run into a buzzsaw of opposition from members of Congress. Some have characterized the would-be Disinformation Governance Board as an Orwellian body threating free speech. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, in a congressional hearing, scrambled to defend the new board.

  • MISINFORMATIONDoes Free Speech Protect COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation?

    By Sharon Beckstrand

    “The Supreme Court has held that many kinds of false statements are protected speech under the First Amendment,” says Stanford University’s Michelle Mello. “The Supreme Court’s general finding is that false statements can often be valuable in terms of allowing people to challenge widely held beliefs without fear of repercussions, and that things could go pretty wrong if the government had a wider berth to regulate them.”

  • WAR IN UKRAINEResearch Exposes Long-Term Failure of Russian Propaganda in Ukraine's Donbas Region

    A study of the propaganda that flooded Donbas for years reveals a failure to build pro-Russian “in-group” identities in the region, despite Putin’s claims of support.

  • DISINFORMATIONWhat Research Reveals About Disinformation and How to Address It

    Stanford scholars from across the social sciences are studying the threats disinformation poses to democracy. Here is some of their research.

  • PERSPECTIVE: THE RUSSIA CONNECTIONTrump Appointee Twice Delayed Report on Russian Election Interference, Federal Watchdog Says

    A just-published DHS IG report says that a senior Trump appointee twice delayed the release of a report detailing Russia’s interference in the 2020 election, interference aimed to help the Trump campaign. Moreover, in order to dilute the significance of the information about Russia’s interference, other DHS officials added a so-called “tone box” describing efforts by Chinese and Iranian influence actors to promote unsubstantiated narratives questioning the mental health of then-President Donald Trump. With the exception of the added tone box itself, China and Iran are not mentioned in the report.

  • TRUTH DECAYWhy Public Trust in Elections Is Being Undermined by Global Disinformation Campaigns

    By Christoph Bluth

    Public trust in elections is being targeted around the world by a series of disinformation campaigns from a range of international players. There are often similar campaigns run by domestic political players, as has been the case, for example, in the United States, Brazil, and Mexico. These campaigns are giving rise to an increasing lack of trust in how votes are counted. The overall purpose is to create mistrust of the core institutions of liberal democracy, including parliaments, mainstream media, elections, and the judiciary.

  • TRUTH DECAYHolocaust Analogies Frequently Used as Fodder for Social and Political Commentary

    The Holocaust stands out as a preeminent example of modern-day state-sponsored mass murder. Despite the Holocaust’s distinctive status, or perhaps because of it, politicians, activists, and other public figures often invoke inappropriate Holocaust comparisons to highlight the ostensible “danger” of a social or political act.

  • ELECTION SECURITYRussian Trolls Tried to Distract American Voters with Entertainment

    In a finding that has implications for the 2022 midterm elections, Cornell researchers found Russia tried to distract liberal voters during the 2016 presidential campaign with a seemingly innocent weapon – tweets about music and videos – taking a page from its domestic disinformation playbook.

  • EXTREMISMDomestic Extremists’ Social Media Habits

    A new study, bridging two leading databases on extremist hate and violence, found that individuals in both have been influenced by social media, and their web platform choices may mirror those of the general population.

  • EXTREMISM ON LINEHow Extremism Operates Online

    Since the early days of the internet, radical groups and movements across the ideological spectrum have demonstrated their intent and ability to harness virtual platforms to perform critical functions. Recent demonstrations and violent attacks have highlighted the need for an improved understanding of the role of internet-based technologies in aiding and amplifying the spread of extremist ideologies.

  • EXTREMISMThe Role of Violent Conspiratorial Narratives in Violent and Non‐Violent Extreme Right Manifestos Online, 2015‐2020

    Much research remains to be done on the precise qualitative difference between the structures and linguistic markers that are evident in violent and non‐violent conspiratorial language, especially on the extreme far right, and how this encourages an individual to violent action. A new report offers findings which are both striking and, in some cases, unexpected.