Overview

Fake news, conspiracies, manipulated media, selective reporting, facts derided as lies: citizens of democracies encounter wildly conflicting information about the supposedly factual world. Think of Pizzagate, a well-known and extensively discredited conspiracy theory about an abuse circle run by high-ranking Democratic Party officials. Or of the recent 2020 United States presidential election, where most Republican voters said they believed that Trump won and the official results were fraudulent. COVID-19 has produced its own myriad of false beliefs, for example that the virus was engineered in China. Even outright denials of the pandemic or other complex phenomena such as climate change are not uncommon. The borders between fact and opinion are blurring, and the prospects of deliberative democracy and collective action become increasingly bleak.


Of course, truth has always been precarious - neither misinformation nor widespread false beliefs are unique to our time. But the web and social media technologies have distinctly rearranged the struggles over truth and falsehood. Through its unfiltered publication process, breakneck pace, and obsession with engagement (rather than accuracy), the modern web has created not only decentralized modes of expression but also novel vectors for misinformation and disinformation. We therefore need new tools, concepts and technologies to ensure the integrity of information ecosystems. This workshop aims to bring together leaders across industry and academia to discuss what tools for measurement and mitigation could look like.


(Image by R KIKUO JOHNSON)
Call for papers

Submissions

We invite researchers and practitioners to submit extended abstracts or short papers. Submissions are 2 to 4 pages in length, plus unlimited pages of references. Authors can choose to make their submissionarchival or non-archival. We invite submissions including (but not limited to):

  1. works-in-progress
  2. research or research proposals
  3. provocations or critical approaches

Submissions are 2-4 page PDF's submitted via Easy Chair and should follow the AAAI format. Authors may include an appendix but submissions should be self-contained as reviewers are not asked to review appendices. Review will be blind and submissions should be reasonably anonymized. Accepted submissions will have the option of publishing their work in the proceedings of ICWSM 2021. For any questions, email zive@mit.edu


Topics

Topics that submissions might address include, but are not limited to:

  1. Contextualizing false beliefs and information issues
    • đź“šHistorical context and meta-reviews of studies
    • đź”®Fundamental questions of truth, inquiry, and epistemology online
    • ⚖️Considerations of accessibility, disability and marginalization
  2. Measuring credibility and beliefs impact on the online ecosystem
    • đź“ŠMetrics, and methods to quantify credibility and false belief
    • 🧑‍💻Research on human experiences with information credibility systems and issues
    • đź—’Data sets that surface credibility issues and false beliefs online
  3. Mitigating misinformation and supporting credibility
    • 🎛Systems that build information credibility or reduce the spread of false beliefs
    • âš’Challenges of interdisciplinary collaboration between research and practice
    • đź”­Speculative design, value-sensitive design, and critical design approaches.

We encourage submissions from across the political spectrum and welcome work treating information credibility from multiple perspectives.

Dates

Workshop papers submission: March 27, 2021 April 10, 2021
Workshop paper acceptance notification: April 21, 2021
Workshop final camera-ready paper due: May 1, 2021
Workshop will take place June 7, 2021

Schedule
Time Event Info
09:00 Welcome and Introductions TBA
09.30 Context: The Media Credibility Crisis TBA
10.20 Break TBA
10.30 Measure: Studying Trust and Beliefs TBA
11.30 Mitigate: Some Real-World Solutions TBA
12.30 Lunch break TBA
13.30 Organize: Advancing the Conversation TBA
Organizers

Maurice Jakesch

Maurice Jakesch is an Information Science Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University and a fellow at the Cornell Tech Digital Life Initiative and the German National Academic Foundation. He studies how people reason about credibility and authenticity in a networked society. He explores how and why judgments of AI-generated content and political news are often misguided.

Manon Revel

Manon Revel is an Social and Engineering System PhD candidate at MIT and a Hammer Fellow. Manon studies news credibility and the trust crisis of journalism. She also works on political behaviors and electoral systems. She created and led webradios programs and is passionate about supporting and enhancing journalism’s quality.

Ziv Epstein

Ziv Epstein is a PhD student in the MIT Media Lab. His work integrates aspects of design and computational social science to understand and build cooperative systems. He focuses on new challenges and oppurtunities that emerge from a digital society, particularly in the domains of social media and artificial intelligence.