Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Visual Mis- and #Disinformation

An open-access article, Visual Mis- and Disinformation, Social Media, and Democracy, contains mini-articles on multimodal disinformation.
There is a useful introduction identifying the nature and problems of dis- and misinformation in visual or multimodal form. There follow mini-articles outlining current state-of-the-art in faked videos etc., this media's impact, issues in detecting them, posible approaches to combatting them & future directions for research.
The essays are called: (1) Fake Videos: Challenges for Journalism and Democracy Emanating From Deepfakes and Cheapfakes; (2) Long on Profit and Years Behind: Platforms and the Fight Against Audiovisual Disinformation; (3) The Effects of Visual Disinformation and Debunking Falsehoods: State-of-the-Art and a Future Research Agenda; (4) Prebunking: Vaccinating Citizens Against Visual Disinformation
No. (2) is by an information/library academic who, identifying the value of human checkers, notes that "Librarians and archivists are experts at vetting information and indeed have been building information systems for the public interest for a century. Moreover, libraries offer a unique opportunity and locus of further research on combatting disinformation as they are trusted, localized sites of information negotiation that can engage the public in-person discussions around interpretating and evaluating information"
No. (4) discusses three games which aim to make people more aware of misinformation, by challenging them to use the techniques of misinformation, conspiracy theory etc. to boost social media profiles. I have certainly mentioned the first game (Bad News Game) on this blog before, but I don't think I've mentioned Go Viral which has the same format as Bad News Game, but with COVID related themes (the third relates to elections, Harmony Square).
The conclusion to the whole article identifies the need for more work on visual misinformation, and for collaboration between disciplines, and between researchers and other stakeholders. It also calls out for  "new forms of inoculating people against visual misinformation" - though I'm not sure that the innoculating metaphor is helpful when dealing with the need to keep developing information literacy lifelong?
The article is: Dan, V., Paris, B., Donovan, J., Hameleers, M., Roozenbeek, J., van der Linden, S., & von Sikorski, C. (2021). Visual Mis- and Disinformation, Social Media, and Democracy. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 98(3), 641–664. https://doi.org/10.1177/10776990211035395

Photo by Sheila Webber: Misinformation? (slightly out-of-date guide to the London skyline, July 2021

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