STS Departmental Seminar Series – December 3rd – Dr. John McLevey (University of Waterloo) – “Democracies in Crisis? Online Deception, Disinformation, and Political Polarization in Comparative Perspective”
In the seventh talk in the 2019-2020 STS Departmental Seminar Series (and the last of 2019) Dr. John McLevey (University of Waterloo) will give a talk on December 3rd entitled: “Democracies in Crisis? Online Deception, Disinformation, and Political Polarization in Comparative Perspective”
In 2016, the American election and the UK referendum to leave the EU opened up a new set of questions about the role of social media in changing the distribution of information and news, in creating online echo chambers, and enabling new types of coordinated disinformation campaigns that manipulate public discourse, amplify extremist political views, and undermine democratic governance. In the first part of this talk, I will compare two network-based disinformation tactics that likely have micro-level effects on the formation of political beliefs and behaviours, and macro-level effects on political polarization. I then draw on social network analysis, natural language processing, and automated deception detection research to propose a methodological strategy for studying these tactics at scale, and to better understanding their micro- and macro-level effects.