LAST UPDATED: 01/11/2019 A PDF of this post can be downloaded here.
What is this page for?
One of the questions I get asked the most in my research is “where do I begin?”. This is a question I get from academics, students, reporters and even politicians from all over the world.
Normally I send over a bibliography of disinformation, misinformation and ‘fake news’ research to help people get started. I tend to draw on government white papers and non-governmental reports, academic research, press investigations and just about anything that I’ve found useful in researching disinformation over the last three years.
Not knowing where to start is clearly an issue; one that is potentially holding back good disinformation researchers and investigators. I’ve decided to use this page as a starting point for anyone interested in disinformation: it’ll be regularly updated and will feature a range of sources across the spectrum that I recommend as a starting point.
This page is not an exhaustive record of all the work in this area – instead it is supposed to act as a starting point to find credible work that addresses disinformation. If you think there is something missing or would like to recommend an addition, please let me know.
Only open access, freely accessible academic works will be included.
The bibliography will be split into three roughly separate (but not mutually exclusive) sections:
- Academic research – journal articles, books and conference proceedings
- Governments, public bodies and NGOs – white papers, reports and commissioned studies
- Journalism – online investigations, press deep dives and open-source analysis
Sources are given in a table, with the final column functioning as a tag system – use CTRL+F/CMND+F to search for tags such as vaccines or Facebook to find relevant sources.
Sources are ordered by date and those with an asterisk* next to them are works I recommend accessing first. Works commissioned by academic bodies will appear under heading 2 (Governments, public bodies and NGOs).
Disinformation – General
|Irina Khaldarova & Mervi Pantti||Fake News: The narrative battle over the Ukrainian conflict (2016)||This article looks at Russian produced disinformation injected into Ukraine and the work of http://stopfake.org/ to counter Russian produced narratives.||Ukraine; Russia; StopFake|
|*Hunt Allcott & Matthew Gentzkow||Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election (2017)||Widely regarded as one of the first high quality studies to investigate modern disinformation. Introduces a definition of fake news which is now used industry-wide.||US 2016 presidential election; Facebook; Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton|
|Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy and Sinan Aral||The spread of true and false news online (2018)||Researches the diffusion of verifiably true and false news stories on Twitter. Finds that false information diffuses “significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than true information”.||Twitter; network diffusion|
|Andrew Guess, Jonathan Nagler & Joshua Tucker||Less than you think: Prevalence and predictors of fake news dissemination on Facebook (2019).||This article examines the “individual-level characteristics associated with sharing false articles during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign” to understand Facebook users’ motivations for sharing disinformation.||US 2016 presidential election; Facebook|
|Online Civic Culture Centre (O3C)||News Sharing on UK Social Media: Misinformation, Disinformation & Correction (2019)||Based at Loughborough University, UK, O3C researches disinformation and the rise of hate speech and intolerance online. Led by Professor Andrew Chadwick, they recently conducted a nationwide survey investigating the factors that drive people to share false political news online.||UK; social media; political news|
|*Oxford Internet Institute/ Computational Propaganda Research Project (COMPROP)||The Global Disinformation Order: 2019 Global Inventory of Organised Social Media Manipulation (2019)||COMPROP investigate organised social media manipulation and the “the use of algorithms, automation, and computational propaganda in public life”. They have a trove of research in this area, providing freely accessible reports with complete and open-access replication datasets.||computational propaganda; social media manipulation; global information operations|
Governments, Public Bodies and NGOs
Disinformation – General
|London School of Economics (LSE)||Tackling the Information Crisis: A Policy Framework for Media System Resilience (2018)||A report by LSE’s Truth, Trust and Technology Commission, this document makes policy recommendations to address the current “crisis of trust in information”.||policy making; media resilience; information systems|
|*European Policy Centre (EPC)/ Paul Butcher||Disinformation and democracy: The home front in the information war (2019)||This is a very readable discussion paper produced by the EPC, a think tank based in Brussels. It serves as a good introduction to the topic and scopes potential solutions to the current information environment.||European Union; democracy|
|Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)||Online Harms White Paper (2019)||The OHWP addresses online disinformation as an online harm in scope of potential regulation, but one that currently has a “less clear definition” than other harms in scope.||Government; DCMS: online harms; regulation|
|European Parliament||Disinformation and propaganda – impact on the functioning of the rule of law in the EU and its Member States (2019)||A study by the European Parliament assessing the impact of disinformation and strategic political propaganda disseminated on social media sites.||European Union; political propaganda; social media|
|*Global Disinformation Index (GDI)||The Quarter Billion Dollar Question: How is Disinformation Gaming Ad Tech? (2019)||This is a comprehensive report into the revenue generated by “disinforming domains”. It finds that in 2019, a sample of 20,000 domains flagged for disseminating disinformation generated over $235 million in advertising revenue.||Advertising; ad tech; programmatic advertising.|
Journalistic and the Press
Disinformation – General
|Bellingcat||Chemical Weapons and Absurdity: The Disinformation Campaign Against the White Helmets||Based in Leicester, UK, Bellingcat excel at open-source intelligence (OSINT) gathering and investigation. Bellingcat are most well known for their investigation of the downing of MH17 and their investigations into linking the suspected poisoners of Sergei Skripal to the Russian secret service.||OSINT; fact checking;|
|*BuzzFeed News||The El Paso And Dayton Shootings Show How Disinformation Spreads On Messaging Apps||BuzzFeed News have written dozens of excellent articles on the interface of disinformation and politics/civil society/technology. This is largely done by Jane Lytvynenko and Craig Silverman. Good for global perspectives surrounding disinformation.||Social media; global disinformation|
|The New York Times (Neil MacFarquhar and Andrew Rossback)||How Russian Propaganda Spread From a Parody Website to Fox News (2017)||This is an excellent deep dive into how a single story began as parody and made its way through social media, Russian state TV and then onto mainstream networks in the UK and US.||Russia; parody; Fox News; Facebook|
|*Daniel Funke/ PolitiFact||A guide to anti-misinformation actions around the world; Misinformation doesn’t need a free and open internet to spread.||Daniel Funke heads misinformation at PolitiFact, a factchecking organisation that is part of Poynter. Funke also factchecks during political events and crisis events.||fact checking; Poynter; politics|
|Ben Nimmo/ Graphika||#BotSpot: Twelve Ways to Spot a Bot; Cross-Platform Spam Network Targeted Hong Kong Protests
|Formerly at the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab, Ben Nimmo is now director of investigations at Graphika, a social media analysis organisation that develops AI to study online communities.||social media; information operations; Russia|
Education and Resources
Disinformation – General
|Digital Resource Center (DRC)||News literacy classroom plans; full news literacy course||The DRC provide resources for students, grade-school teachers and college instructors centring around digital and media literacy.||digital literacy; media literacy; school education|
|*First Draft||Research; Teaching and training materials
|First Draft specialise in developing architectures for press collaboration to enable journalists to address disinformation together. They offer a wealth of counter-disinformation training and education materials.||information disorder; monitoring; verification;|
|National Literacy Trust||Disinformation and critical literacy resources||The National Literacy Trust offer teaching resources for parents, primary/ elementary schools and secondary/ high schools. Resources require an account but are free to access.||school education; critical literacy|
|*Full Fact||Find factcheckers near you; Disinformation toolkit||Full Fact are a British independent factchecking charity who provide mostly political fact checks as well as tools to help the public spot disinformation.||factchecking; verification|