IDDP faculty are working to combat the spread of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus. This section will be updated with studies and investigations conducted by our faculty.
The deadly threat posed by the coronavirus has led people to frantically search for personal protective equipment. IDDP researcher Trevor David worked with Buzzfeed media editor, and IDDP inaugural Knight Fellow, Craig Silverman on an investigation that uncovered the sale of an overpriced, initially unauthorized, and misleadingly marketed face mask. SafeMask potentially profited millions of dollars thanks to mass email marketing totaling about 1 billion emails.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, has been linked to increased anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States. Recently, David Broniatowski, Aylin Caliskan et al. found that foreign powers, and especially Russia, were implicated in information operations using public health crises to promote discord – including racial conflict – in American society.
David Broniatowski, who leads the Meaningful Open Source Indicators (MOSI) research cluster in IDDP, is spearheading a multi-institutional initiative to create an open database tracking online attitudes toward COVID-19, an essential tool for researchers and public health professionals working to slow the pandemic.
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The Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics (IDDP)’s mission is to help the public, journalists, and policymakers understand digital media’s influence on public dialogue and opinion, and to develop sound solutions to disinformation and other ills that arise in these spaces.
In the heart of the nation's capital, IDDP brings together top researchers from across academic disciplines, works side-by-side with and informs journalists from leading media outlets, advises and helps agenda set with policymakers in the U.S. and Europe, and engages with a variety of organizations that have significant societal influence and reach.
This work is of vital importance in an age when media manipulation, fake accounts, and malicious social media activities are undermining fundamental aspects of societal cohesion and democratic ideals. Abuse, harassment, hate speech, and disinformation abound, foreign and domestic actors are taking advantage of key features of digital platforms to target vulnerable and marginalized members of society.
Institute researchers will produce timely publications about the threat to democracy posed by digital propaganda and deception and contribute to academic journals with new scholarships.
The Institute will bring a team of leading interdisciplinary researchers from around the world together under one roof and organize events on new disinformation research.
The institute will collaborate with the Poynter Institute and its PolitiFact project to offer trainings on the misinformation landscape and how to correct false information with fact-checking journalism.
BuzzFeed editor Craig Silverman warned that disinformation may take new and frightening forms as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
Researchers and experts discussed how misinformation spreads and who benefits by it in final Colonials Weekend event.
Founding Director Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics
Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs
Associate Director Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics
Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs
“Our nation’s political discourse, our media, and most importantly our democracy, depend on facts. With generous support from Knight Foundation, this new institute leverages GW’s strengths convening interdisciplinary teams and using data and research to solve complex challenges facing our nation and world.”
President of the George Washington University