Presentations (Communicative Events)

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Media Literacy in a Less-Centralized Social Media Universe

Zuckerman, Ethan; Tripodi, Francesca; Fister, Barbara

This panel will focus on mis/disinformation through the lens of media literacy, recognizing both that the current internet environment requires new approaches to reading, and that bad actors may have the most advanced understanding of the media ecosystem. Sociologist and media scholar, Francesca Tripodi studies the relationship between politically conservative communities and participatory media and will speak about her research on how textual practices of bible study communities inform the reading of “fake news.” Library scholar, blogger, and “curmudgeon-at-large” Barbara Fister will explain how traditional models of media literacy may not work to combat contemporary conspiracy theories, and how encouraging readers to search for their own facts may be aggravating the spread of misinformation.experiment.


Reimagine the Internet is a virtual conference co-hosted by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the soon-to-be-launched Initiative on Digital Public Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In six sessions over five days, there will be more than a dozen speakers whose work hints at what the internet could become over the next decade.

As the internet has become an inescapable part of our commercial, social, and civic lives, the flaws and harms of the contemporary internet have become increasingly apparent. Despite rhetoric of decentralization, monopolies and points of control have arisen online, and powerful corporations have largely unregulated power over vast swaths of speech and commerce. The spaces these corporations have built may be having significant negative effects on our democracies, leading towards political polarization, the spread of mis/disinformation, and the growth of politically influential conspiracy theories.

While there is robust debate about what social ills can be traced to decisions made by commercial actors, the discussion over what’s to be done is often circumscribed. We debate how platforms like Facebook and YouTube should be regulated to be less harmful, but the conversation rarely extends to questions about how we could design new internet spaces that could lead towards healthier discussions, communities, and societies. “Reimagine the Internet” is an event designed to spark some of these conversations and to feature some of the most promising efforts in this direction.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Knight First Amendment Institute
Reimagine the Internet
Published Here
February 1, 2022