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- Egelhofer, Jana Laura ; Aaldering, Loes ; Eberl, Jakob-Moritz ; Galyga, Sebastian ; Lecheler, Sophie. From Novelty to Normalization? How Journalists Use the Term “Fake News” in their Reporting // Journalism Studies (2020) nr. 10, lk. 1323-1343.
During recent years, worries about fake news have been a salient aspect of mediated debates. However, the ubiquitous and fuzzy usage of the term in news reporting has led more and more scholars and other public actors to call for its abandonment in public discourse altogether. Given this status as a controversial but arguably effective buzzword in news coverage, we know surprisingly little about exactly how journalists use the term in their reporting. By means of a quantitative content analysis, this study offers empirical evidence on this question. Using the case of Austria, where discussions around fake news have been ubiquitous during recent years, we analyzed all news articles mentioning the term “fake news” in major daily newspapers between 2015 and 2018 (N = 2,967). We find that journalistic reporting on fake news shifts over time from mainly describing the threat of disinformation online, to a more normalized and broad usage of the term in relation to attacks on legacy news media. Furthermore, news reports increasingly use the term in contexts completely unrelated to disinformation or media attacks. In using the term this way, journalists arguably contribute not only to term salience but also to a questionable normalization process. (Taylor and Francis)
- Elías, Carlos ; Catalan-Matamoros, Daniel. Coronavirus in Spain: Fear of ‘Official’ Fake News Boosts WhatsApp and Alternative Sources // Media and Communication (2020) nr. 2.
The communication of the Coronavirus crisis in Spain has two unexpected components: the rise of the information on social networks, especially WhatsApp, and the consolidation of TV programs on mystery and esotericism. Both have emerged to “tell the truth” in opposition to official sources and public media. For a country with a long history of treating science and the media as properties of the state, this very radical development has surprised communication scholars.(Open Access Journal)
- Pierri, Francesco ; Artoni, Alessandro ; Ceri, Stefano. Investigating Italian disinformation spreading on Twitter in the context of 2019 European elections // PLoS ONE (2020), nr. 1, lk. 1-23.
We investigate the presence (and the influence) of disinformation spreading on online social networks in Italy, in the 5-month period preceding the 2019 European Parliament elections. To this aim we collected a large-scale dataset of tweets associated to thousands of news articles published on Italian disinformation websites. In the observation period, a few outlets accounted for most of the deceptive information circulating on Twitter, which focused on controversial and polarizing topics of debate such as immigration, national safety and (Italian) nationalism. We found evidence of connections between Italian disinformation sources and different disinformation outlets across Europe, U.S. and Russia, featuring similar, even translated, articles in the period before the elections. Overall, the spread of disinformation on Twitter was confined in a limited community, strongly (and explicitly) related to the Italian conservative and far-right political environment, who had a limited impact on online discussions on the up-coming elections. (EBSCO)
Giglietto, Fabio ; Iannelli, Laura ; Valeriani, Augusto ; Rossi, Luca. ‘Fake news’ is the invention of a liar: How false information circulates within the hybrid news system // Current Sociology (2019) nr. 4, lk. 625-642.
Alarmed by the oversimplifications related to the ‘fake news’ buzzword, researchers have started to unpack the concept, defining diverse types and forms of misleading news. Most of the existing works in the area consider crucial the intent of the content creator in order to differentiate among different types of problematic information. This article argues for a change of perspective that, by leveraging the conceptual framework of sociocybernetics, shifts from exclusive attention to creators of misleading information to a broader approach that focuses on propagators and, as a result, on the dynamics of the propagation processes. The analytical implications of this perspective are discussed at a micro level (criteria to judge the falsehood of news and to decide to spread it), at a meso level (four possible relations between individual judgements and decisions), and at a macro level (global circulation cascades). The authors apply this theoretical gaze to analyse ‘fake news’ stories... (Sage Journals)
- Ajir, Media ; Vailliant, Bethany. Russian Information Warfare: Implications for Deterrence Theory // Strategic Studies Quarterly (2018) nr. 3, lk. 70-89.
The advanced threat of Russian disinformation campaigns against Western democracies and the United States in particular begs the questions: What are Russia’s strategies for information warfare, and how can the United States combat them? This article explores the evolution of anti-Western propaganda coming from Russia in three ways: statefunded global social media networks, controlling Western media outlets, and direct lobbying of Western society. Recommendations to combat these threats include analysis of deterrence theory and its applicability to the domain of information warfare. [open access]
- Alemanno, Alberto. How to Counter Fake News? A Taxonomy of Anti-fake News Approaches // European Journal of Risk Regulation : EJRR (2018) nr. 1, lk.1-5.
Fake news is a symptom of deeper structural problems in our societies and media environments. To counter it, policymakers need to take into account the underlying, self-reinforcing mechanisms that make this old phenomenon so pervasive today. Only by taking a step back can we examine the vulnerabilities these fake news narratives exploit. This article provides a first taxonomy of anti-fake news approaches. It argues that proposed anti-fake news laws focus on the trees rather than the forest. As such, they will not only remain irrelevant but also aggravate the root causes fuelling the fake news phenomenon. (HeinOnline, ProQuest Research Library, Westlaw International)
- Bârgăoanu, Alina ; Radu, Loredana. Fake News or Disinformation 2.0? Some Insights into Romanians’ Digital Behaviour // Romanian Journal of European Affairs (2018) nr. 1, lk. 24-38.
This paper focuses on digital behaviour, self-assessment of vulnerabilities to digital disinformation, and patterns of trust as exposed by Romanian citizens. By corroborating the data of the first national public opinion survey on fake news and disinformation (implemented between February and March 2018) with the Special Eurobarometer no. 464 – Fake News and Disinformation Online – implemented in the same time frame (February 2018), we capture the perceptions and attitudes of Romanian citizens over the use of new media and news trustworthiness, and we also compare the Romanians’ online behaviour with the average European’s. As similar research reveals, digital disinformation affects resilience of citizens in Member States and in the European Union overall, it “threatens the democratic political processes and values” (European Commission, 2018: 12), the integrity of elections and political processes, and should therefore, be approached as a legitimate public concern. Our paper opens the floor for more dedicated research and applied policies – at both the Member States and EU levels – aimed at mitigating the rising and ever worrying fake news phenomenon. (DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals, Free E- Journals, HeinOnline , ProQuest Research Library)
- Bennett, W. Lance ; Livingston, S. The disinformation order: Disruptive communication and the decline of democratic institutions // European Journal of Communication (2018) nr. 2, lk. 122-139.
Many democratic nations are experiencing increased levels of false information circulating through social media and political websites that mimic journalism formats. In many cases, this disinformation is associated with the efforts of movements and parties on the radical right to mobilize supporters against centre parties and the mainstream press that carries their messages. The spread of disinformation can be traced to growing legitimacy problems in many democracies. Declining citizen confidence in institutions undermines the credibility of official information in the news and opens publics to alternative information sources. Those sources are often associated with both nationalist (primarily radical right) and foreign (commonly Russian) strategies to undermine institutional legitimacy and destabilize centre parties, governments and elections. The Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump in the United States are among the most prominent examples of disinformation campaigns intended to disrupt normal democratic order, but many other nations display signs of disinformation and democratic disruption. The origins of these problems and their implications for political communication research are explored. (Sage Journals Onlines)
- Introne, Joshua ; Gokce Yildirim, Irem ; Iandoli, Luca. How People Weave Online Information Into Pseudoknowledge // Social Media + Society (2018)
Misinformation has found a new natural habitat in the digital age. Thousands of forums, blogs, and alternative news sources amplify fake news and inaccurate information to such a degree that it impacts our collective intelligence. Researchers and policy makers are troubled by misinformation because it is presumed to energize or even carry false narratives that can motivate poor decision-making and dangerous behaviors. Yet, while a growing body of research has focused on how viral misinformation spreads, little work has examined how false narratives are in fact constructed. In this study, we move beyond contagion inspired approaches to examine how people construct a false narrative. We apply prior work in cognitive science on narrative understanding to illustrate how the narrative changes over time and in response to social dynamics, and examine how forum participants draw upon a diverse set of online sources to substantiate the narrative. We find that the narrative is based primarily on reinterpretations of conventional and scholarly sources, and then used to provide an alternate account of unfolding events. We conclude that the link between misinformation, conventional knowledge, and false narratives is more complex than is often presumed, and advocate for a more direct study of this relationship. [open access]
- Janda, Jakub. How to boost the Western response to Russian hostile influence operations // European View (2018) nr. 2, lk.181-188.
The Russian Federation has become a rogue state in international relations, invading and occupying the territories of three European countries (Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine), waging war in the Ukrainian territory, producing massive disinformation campaigns against the West, threatening the Baltic republics, and interfering in various elections and referendums. Despite Russia’s aggressive behaviour, the West’s response to it has been significantly limited, particularly when it comes to non-military deterrence by Continental Europe. The US and the UK are leading the punishment of Russia’s aggression, while many countries, mainly in Western and Southern Europe, are hesitant to respond to this threat. This article makes recommendations as to what should be done in practical terms to boost the European portion of the Western response to Russian aggression from the political and policy points of view.
- Prier, Jarred. Commanding the Trend: Social Media as Information Warfare // Strategic Studies Quarterly: SSQ (2017) nr. 4, lk. 50-85.
This article demonstrates how social media is a tool for modern information-age warfare. It builds on analysis of three distinct topics: social networking, propaganda, and news and information sharing. Two case studies are used to show how state and nonstate actors use social media to employ time-tested propaganda techniques to yield far-reaching results. The spread of the propaganda message is accomplished by tapping into an existing narrative, then amplifying that message with a network of automatic “bot” accounts to force the social media platform algorithm to recognize that message as a trending topic. The first case study analyzes Islamic State (IS) as a nonstate actor, while the second case observes Russia as a state actor, with each providing evidence of successful influence operations using social media. Coercion and persuasion will continue to be decisive factors in information warfare as more countries attempt to build influence operations on social media. (ProQuest Research Library, US Government Documents)