I am very excited to announce two PhD studentships to study the spread of online misinformation and disinformation at Loughborough University’sOnline Civic Cultures Centre, which we launched this year.
One project, co-supervised by Andrew Chadwick, Martin Sykora, and myself, focuses on “Understanding the Spread of Online Misinformation That Rejects Scientific Consensus: Audiences, Platforms, and Algorithms“. This project will examine the interrelationships between people’s motivations for sharing information, the types of information they share (such as media sources and statements by elites of various kinds), and the affordances of video sharing platforms, particularly YouTube. The project will compile a dataset of misleading information rejecting scientific consensus on selected key issues of our time, such as, for example, climate change or health. It will undertake content analysis as well as examine audience interpretations and responses. The project will also assess the role of algorithmic power in shaping people’s exposure and responses to misinformation rejecting scientific consensus and explore how the spread and societal impact of such misinformation might be reduced. More information is available here.
Another project, co-supervised by Louise Cooke, Suzanne Elayan, and Simone Natale is titled “What Role Do Social Media Influencers Play in Spreading Misinformation and Disinformation?“. This project will develop culturally-sensitive concepts for designing new algorithms to detect social media influencers who spread misinformation and disinformation on social media. Through a perspective attentive to the ethical and cultural implications of human-machine interactions on social media platforms, it will both improve understanding of the values embedded in platform algorithms and the role social media influencers play in spreading false information in online networks. The work will sit at the interdisciplinary intersection of computational text mining, applied data science, sociolinguistics, media theory, theories of artificial intelligence, and normative ethical theory. More information here.
The closing date for applications is January 11, 2019 for a starting date on September 30, 2019.
Please distribute widely and, if you are interested in applying, contact the primary supervisors (Andrew Chadwick and Louise Cooke). Feel free to reach out to me with regard to the project I am going to co-supervise.