The Marketplace of Disinformation and Extremist Ideas

This project aims to understand disinformation and extremist discourse as a system of knowledge by applying computational tools. In particular, we focus on relations among ideas, organizations and institutions that form around the discourses, sustain and transform them, as opposed to individual users’ psychological motivations to express or share well-defined opinions. We analyze a variety of platforms as sociotechnical contexts of discursive evolution, including Facebook, extremist communities on Reddit, and even online open markets, such as Amazon. Methodologically, we are developing computational language models that conform to more traditional social scientific concepts, such as Goffman’s framing.   

Topics:

  • Analyzing the Evolution of News Interpretation Using Computational Methods for Frame Analysis: A Case Study of Hate Groups
  • Text Analysis of r/TheRedPill (w/ Winson Peng, Michigan State University)
  • Will the Marketplace of Ideas Cure Disinformation? Understanding the Networked Economy of Disinformation on Facebook
  • Price of Hatred: The Amazon.com Marketplace of White Supremacy
  • Antagonizing Reliance on the “Lamestream Media”: A Computational Analysis of News Organizations’ Linking Behaviors (w/ Kelley Cotter, Michigan State University)

Team:

  • Chankyung Pak (University of Amsterdam)
  • Julia DeCook (Michigan State University)

These projects will help us understand non-individual paths that perpetuate (re)production and distribution of disinformation and extremist discourse, such as norms of communication and framing processes, organizational ecology, and market structure. We expect that this new perspective allows for opening an alternative lens to remedy the issues that plague modern societies.