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CIVICA Research Excellence Tour: The Geometry of Misinformation

Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The link between polarization and misinformation in online multidimensional political settings

This event is part of CIVICA Research Excellence Tours initiative and will be hosted by the Hertie School.

A presentation by Dr. Pedro Ramaciotti Morales (Médialab, Sciences Po). This event is part of the Digital Governance Research Colloquium hosted by the Centre for Digital Governance with the Data Science Lab. 

To understand why internet users spread fake news online, many studies have focused on individual drivers, such as cognitive skills, media literacy, or demographics. Recent findings have also shown the role of complex socio-political dynamics, highlighting that political polarization and ideologies are closely linked to a propensity to participate in the dissemination of fake news. Most of the existing empirical studies have focused on the US example by exploiting the self-reported or solicited positioning of users on a dichotomous scale opposing liberals with conservatives. Yet, left-right polarization alone is insufficient to study socio-political dynamics when considering non-binary and multi-dimensional party systems, in which relevant ideological stances must be characterized in additional dimensions, relating for example to opposition to elites, government, political parties or mainstream media. This study leverages ideological embeddings of Twitter networks in France in multi-dimensional opinions spaces, where dimensions stand for attitudes towards different issues, and traces the positions of users who shared articles that were rated as misinformation by fact-checkers. This allows for the understanding of the relation between different types of polarization, the opinion configuration of large online social systems, and their connection with the spread of misinformation online.

Pedro Ramaciotti Morales (PhD in Applied Mathematics at École Polytechnique, France) has been a researcher at the computer science department at Sorbonne University, and at the Centre for European Studies and the médialab at Sciences Po. His research interests – at the interface between social sciences and both computational and modeling approaches – revolve around political dynamics in online social platforms, including online political competition systems, algorithmic mediation, social movements, and media ecosystems.

This event is part of the CIVICA Excellence Tour and co-hosted with the Data Science Lab. 

Registration is required for this event. Registered participants will receive the link to this hybrid event on the day of the event.