Media Literacy & Misinformation: News & Updates

Learn how to recognize and prevent misinformation and discover where your news comes from.

This page will be this guide's "home base" for recent updates on the topics of misinformation/disinformation, media literacy, fact checking and conspiracy theories. 

Curb Your Misinformation

February 2024 study published in The Harvard Kennedy School's Misinformation Review found that debunking misinformation among fringe groups susceptible to it was not effective. Instead, the study found that focusing upon limiting consumption of misinformation is far more effective. The new strategy works by exposing the unreliability of sources, which results in the audiences reducing their consumption of misinformation in order not to be misled. This groundbreaking research has broad implications for how societies combat misinformation -- watch this space!

Recent Studies

A selection of recent scholarship on various aspects of misinformation/disinformation, propaganda & conspiracy theories.. 

Galarza-Molina, R. (2023). Youth in the face of disinformation: A qualitative exploration of Mexican college students’ attitudes, motivations, and abilities around false newsCommunication & Society, 97–113. 

Gjerazi, B., & Skana, P. (2023). Impact of politically motivated fake news on public opinion: A case study of deliberate dissemination of disinformation. Balkan Social Science Review, 22(22), 365–383.g

Petratos, P. N., & Faccia, A. (2023). Fake news, misinformation, disinformation and supply chain risks and disruptions: Risk management and resilience using blockchainAnnals of Operations Research327(2), 735–762. 

Weaver, R. L. (2024). Remedies for “Disinformation.” University of the Pacific Law Review55(2), 185–208.

Recent Publications

A selection of recent magazine, newspaper, web and trade journal articles about misinformation/disinformation, propaganda & conspiracy theories.

Bucktin, C. (2023, Apr 13). £1.3bn fake news trial 'could ruin Murdoch': Tycoon admits Fox TV pushed US election conspiracy theories. The Daily Mirror. 

DiMolfetta., D. (2024, Mar 20). US sanctions Kremlin-backed firms for operating network of fake news sites. Nextgov.Com (Online).

Morris, R. (2023). The shocking truth about fake news: Your social media feed is an easy place to get news-but you shouldn’t believe everything you see. Here are four tips to avoid falling into a misinformation trapScholastic Choices38(6), 6–11.

The Power of Relational Organizing

Researchers have found that trusted messengers and grassroots organizing are critical to halting the spread of misinformation and fostering community engagement, especially in communities that have limited access to internet, wi-fi and library resources. Marginalized communities in particular can benefit from investments in "human networks and local infrastructures that can offer reliable information and support democratic participation." In addition, new research related to COVID-19 misinformation suggests the power of this type of outreach to counter conspiracy theories.

Conference Presentation/Discussion, INFORMED 2024/The Knight Foundation. View sessions from INFORMED 2024 here; previous conference sessions are also available.
Lalani, H. S., DiResta, R., Baron, R. J., & Scales, D. (2023). Addressing viral medical rumors and false or misleading informationAnnals of Internal Medicine.

PBS Lesson Plans

New from - lesson plans for the classroom! These lesson plans are listed with an accompanying video that explains the issue and how students can take action. The program is geared toward teens and young adults, and it includes modules on how to fact check and analyze online information to determine its credibility, how to avoid internet scams, how to navigate the internet using media literacy skills and how to produce a fact-check video. Check it out!

Having Courageous Conversations

In summer 2023, the University of Rhode Island Media Education Lab had a series of events called Courageous Conversations. The goal was to gather data and insight into why and how misinformation and conspiracies are believed and spread, and what we can do to effectively tackle this problem via interpersonal communication. In addition to its professional development opportunities, curriculum and recommended reading list, the Lab has continued offering these conversations, and representatives are always available for in person and virtual presentations. 


Courageous Conversations logo

drawing of person holding large blue heart

The Courageous Conversations events resulted in a fascinating data portal, which hosts interactive tools suitable for researchers, students and concerned citizens. Give it a try!

Top FIBers

Top FIBers logo

In July 2023, the Observatory on Social Media at Indiana University published a new tool called Top FIBers, a dashboard of disinformation "superspreaders" on Facebook and Twitter. Users can view data by month, platform, individual account or overall.

New for 2024 - Artificial Intelligence Spamming

According to information scientist Mike Caulfield, "The latest AI language tools are powering a new generation of spammy, low-quality content that threatens to overwhelm the internet unless online platforms and regulators find ways to rein it in." Caulfield believes it's essential for tech platforms to mitigate AI spam before platforms become completely unusable. Stay tuned.

New Books

Hoffman, B. & J. Ware (2024) God, Guns and Sedition. Columbia University Press.

Thagard, P. (2024). Falsehoods fly: Why disinformation spreads and how to stop it. Columbia University Press.

Weiss, A. (2024). Counterfact: Fake news and misinformation in the digital information age. Rowman & Littlefield.

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