Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $953,203)

Goals: Investigating, reducing, and preventing mis-, dis-, and mal-information (MDM) has become a top priority for governments, private organizations, and researchers. Nationally publicized political events often become focal points of MDM, which are exploited by various individuals and groups to launch disinformation campaigns and trigger spontaneous or crowd-sourced diffusion of disinformation and violent extremism. In this context, this project seeks to answer the following overarching questions: (1) What characteristics of high-profile events are more likely to trigger online MDM campaigns? (2) What network patterns are associated with online MDM clusters, and dissemination pathways, and what are the technical characteristics of more vulnerable platforms? (3) What are the common characteristics of organizations and other actors engaged in MDM campaigns? (4) What are the key themes and linguistic features of MDM campaigns, and how do they vary across disseminators and adopters?

Date Created: September 8, 2023

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