Fighting Fake News

Research in the MM Lab aims to understand various avenues related to fake news and disinformation. These include the influence of exposure to fake news on consumers, identifying fake news, understanding why fake news is wide-spread and often believed, and examining sociodemographic and societal factors that are related to fake news dissemination, acceptance, and belief.

Media Appearances/Interviews

Dr. Wright frequently publishes op-eds related to Fake News and other media related topics on her Everyday Media blog

Debunking COVID vaccine myths and lies, from dumb to dangerous

Misinformation Spreads Like Wildfire

The Controversy on the Role of Social Media: Disinformation and Conspiracy Theories

Controlling the Spread of Misinformation

7 Steps to Avoid Being Fooled by Fake News on Social Media

Biden Administration to Launch Massive Education Campaign to Rebuild Trust in Vaccines

Misinformation Surging on Social Media amid COVID-19 Vaccine

Why COVID Lies on Social Media are so Seductive
Yelling at Your Family Won’t Change their Beliefs: Do This Instead

Social Media “Fake News” Divides US

How Fake News Affects U.S. Elections

Fake News on Parler

Trump Tests Positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus Fake News

COVID-19 Fake News

3-Fold Stress’ is Defining the Times and Making it Harder for All of Us to Cope

Four Questions to ask Yourself Before Posting on Social Media Right Now

Misinformation on Coronavirus is Proving Highly Contagious 

Combating Fake News During a Pandemic

Dr. Wright went on Florida’s Fourth Estate to discuss the current problem with COVID-19 fake news, how to identify it, and what consumers can do to help stop the spread.

How to Vet New Information on COVID-19

Coronavirus: UCF Latino Community Shares Concerns of Spread of Fake News

6 Facts About COVID-19 Doctors Want You to Understand

Fake News Epidemic 

Dr. Wright was interviewed by Federica Sgorbissa for her Italian podcast series on fake news and coronavirus. The episode is titled “Fake News Epidemic” (Epidemia di fake news).

 

COVID-19 Fake News on Social Media

Speaking of  Psychology

Dr.Wright  was interviewed as part of the Speaking of Psychology series of the American Psychological Association during the 2019 convention on the topic of fake news. The transcript is also available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research

21st Century Change Makers: Disinformation and Election Security

Dr. Wright presented on The Impact of Misinformation and Fake News on Consumer Attitudes and Behavior for the International Visitor Leadership Program of the U.S. Department of State.

Shared Spaces Series: Social Media + Democracy: Are We More Connected or Divided?

Dr. Wright was a panelist on the topic for the Power of We at Florida State University.

Countering Misinformation and Fake News in Many Spheres

Dr. Wright was a panelist on the topic at the Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations.

Media and Social Change: Recognizing & Challenging Disinformation, Stereotypes, and Fake News

Dr. Wright was a panelist on the topic at the Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations.

Foreign Influence Task Force

Panelist for public messaging campaign on malign foreign influence for the FBI Foreign Influence Task Force and the FBI Protected Voices Initiative

Current Research

The MM Lab is currently examining

  • The influence of COVID-19 fake news on individual measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • The influence of fake news regarding African Americans on racism among consumers
  • The influence of fake news on attitudes regarding underrepresented and marginalized groups in the United States.

Publications on Fake News and Misinformation

COVID-19 Fake News and Attitudes toward Asian Americans

Dr. Wright and student Hang Duong examined the relationship between an inability to identify COVID-19 fake news, right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), sociodemographic factors (i.e., race, biological sex), and the level of xenophobia along with anti-Asian American sentiment. Participants included 100 male and female college students who answered questions about their social media usage. Participants were asked to identify social media news posts as either false or accurate. Participants also completed a series of measures regarding their attitudes toward Asian Americans and xenophobia. Sociodemographic variables of race and sex were examined as well as participants levels of RWA. Participants were frequent social media users, with many having multiple social media accounts. Almost twenty-one percent of participants were unable to identify COVID-19 fake news. Higher rates of xenophobia were found among White participants. Male, compared to female, participants were more likely to report experiencing kinship with Asian Americans. Both RWA and an inability to identify COVID-19 fake news were associated with increased prejudicial attitudes.

Media Portrayals of Immigration and Refugees in Hard and Fake News and their Impact on Consumer Attitudes

Dr. Wright and students Rebecca Brinklow-Vaughn, Kelsea Johannes, and Fiordaliz Rodrigues examined the effect of media portrayals of immigrants and refugees on participant attitudes using an experimental design. Participants included 196 male and female college students who were primed with either negative or positive media portrayals of immigrants and refugees from either hard or fake news sources, or no media portrayals. Participants then answered questions regarding immigrants, immigration policy, and Islamophobia. Results indicated significant differences based on experimental condition for viewing immigration as an economic, cultural diversity, and humanitarian benefit, as well as cognitive Islamophobia. Additionally, the effect of media portrayals, whether positive or negative, in video clips had a stronger effect on participants if the video clips originated from a fake news source. Biological sex, race, social class, and political affiliation were found to relate to participant susceptibility to media portrayals from both hard and fake news sources.

For further information please see the following article:

Wright, C. L., Brinklow-Vaughn, R., Johannes, K., & Rodriguez, F. (2020). Media Portrayals of Immigration and Refugees in Hard and Fake News and their Impact on Consumer Attitudes. The Howard Journal of Communications.

The Influence of Media Portrayals of Immigration and Refugees on Consumer Attitudes: An Experimental Design

Dr. Wright and students Taylor DeFrancesco, Carissa Hamilton, and Lygia Machado conducted an experimental design that examined media portrayals of immigrants and refugees and participants attitudes regarding immigrants, immigration policy, and Islamophobia. Participants included 284 male and female college students who were primed with negative, positive, or no media portrayals of immigrants and refugees prior to completing questionnaires related to their views regarding immigrants, immigration policy, and Islamophobia. Significant differences were found based on experimental condition for viewing immigration as an economic, physical, social cohesion, and modernity threat as well as physical benefits of immigration, intolerant attitudes toward immigrants, and affective-behavioral and cognitive Islamophobia. Participants who were primed with negative media portrayals reported more negative attitudes. Additionally, biological sex, race, social class, and political and religious affiliation were found to relate to participant susceptibility to media portrayals of immigration and refugees.

For further information please see the following article:

Wright, C. L., DeFrancesco, T., Hamilton, C., & Machado, L. (2019). The influence of media portrayals of immigration and refugees on consumer attitudes: An experimental design. The Howard Journal of Communications.

Additional Publications

COVID-19 News Coverage was published in the spring/summer 2020 edition of the Amplifier.

Additional Presentations on Fake News

Wright, C. L., Klein, R., Poffenroth, M., & Birne-Stone, S. (2019). Fake news and misinformation – why it has spread and why it matters. American Psychological Association.

Wright, C. L., DeFrancesco, T., Hamilton, C., & Machado, L. (2019). The Influence of Media Portrayals of Immigration and Refugees on Consumer Attitudes. American Psychological Association.