These projects examine the relation between digital literacy and vulnerability to misinformation on WhatsApp. WhatsApp is very popular in some emerging markets, and especially so among new to Internet and populations with lower exposure to technology.
HabLatam: Digital skills and misinformation among youth in Latin America
Fabro Boaz Steibel, Ph.D, Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro (Principal Investigator); Andrés Lombana-Bermudez, PhD, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; Debora Albu, M.Sc., Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro; Diego Cerqueira, B.A., Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro; Ezequiel Passerón, Faro Digital; Lionel Brossi, Ph.D.,University of Chile; Marco Konopacki, M.A., Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro; Thayane Guimarães, B.A. Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro
This study will use mixed methods to understand digital literacy among youth in Brazil and will co-design workshops in which young people will develop tools and content focused on creating a safer and healthier online information environment.
Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies
Vineet Kumar, Cyber Peace Foundation (Principal Investigator); Amrita Choudhary, CCAOI; Anand Raje, Cyber Peace Foundation
This mixed methods study will examine how vulnerability to fake news is affected by socioeconomic, demographic, or geographical factors, and explore the patterns in forwarding particular types of information across nine states in India (Assam, Delhi, Haryana Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa and Telengana).
WhatsApp Group and Digital Literacy Among Indonesian Women
Novi Kurnia, Ph.D., Universitas Gadjah Mada; Engelbertus Wendratama, M.A., PR2Media; Rahayu, Ph.D.,Universitas Gadjah Mada; Wisnu Martha Adiputra, M.S., Universitas Gadjah Mada.; Syafrizal, M.A. Universitas Gadjah Mada; Eka Indarto, M.Eng., Jogja Medianet
This research will map how Indonesian women use various WhatsApp groups and their digital skills in doing so. The combination of national survey and interviews will be conducted for this study in five main Indonesian cities: Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Makasar, Aceh and Jayapura.
Game-based interventions against the spread of misinformation
Sander van der Linden, Ph.D., University of Cambridge; Jon Roozenbeek, University of Cambridge; Melisa Basol, University of Cambridge; Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation
This research will adapt game-based interventions to the WhatsApp context that aim to “vaccinate” people against fake news by preemptively exposing individuals to the main techniques used in the production of misinformation. The effectiveness of this approach will be tested running 4 studies (a field experiment, two online survey experiments, and an in-game survey) in the UK, the Netherlands, and India.
Election related misinformation
WhatsApp is a powerful medium for political discourse and engagement. However, it can also be misused to share inaccurate or inflammatory political content. We are interested in understanding this space both from the perspective of political actors and voters as understanding how to prevent the misuse of the product in electoral processes.
Information Sharing and Voting Behavior in the 2018 Brazilian Elections
Patrícia Rossini, Ph.D., Syracuse University (Prinicipal Investigator); Erica Anita Baptista, Ph.D., Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Ph.D., Syracuse University; Vanessa Veiga de Oliveira, Ph.D., Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
This mixed methods study aims at understanding two interconnected issues. First being, the potential impact of the use of WhatsApp by political campaigns in the ways users experience the platform and receive political information. Second, the extent to which WhatsApp users actively engage and share content related to the elections within their peers and how they evaluate the credibility and the reliability of political information circulating through the platform.
Social media and every day life in India
Philippa Williams, Ph.D. Queen Mary University of London (Principal Investigator); Lipika Kamra, D.Phil., O.P. Jindal Global University
This study will examine the role of WhatsApp in everyday political conversations in India in the context of India’s social media ecosystem.
Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behavior & Good Governance
Robert A. Johns, Ph.D., University of Essex; Sayan Banerjee, Ph.D., University of Essex; Srinjoy Bose, Ph.D., University of New South Wales
Utilizing a field experiment with WhatsApp and multi-wave survey experiments on the ground in India and Afghanistan, the study aims to establish causal relationship between misinformation spread through social networks and public opinion on ethnic relations and public policy choices.
Use and Misuse WhatsApp Among Indonesian Campaigners and Users
Kunto Adi Wibowo, Ph.D., Universitas Padjadjaran; Elizabeth Stoycheff, Ph.D., Wayne State University (Co-PI); Detta Rahmawan, M.A., Universitas Padjadjaran; Justito Adiprasetio, Universitas Padjadjaran
This study will critically assess how misinformation arose during the 2018 West Java gubernatorial election campaign and the public’s interactions with it and the implications it has on potential voters in the lead up to Indonesia’s 2019 presidential election. The study employs face-to-face interviews that will capture the actual behaviors of both election campaign teams and a large sample of West Java WhatsApp users.
Talking politics on WhatsApp: How Groups Afford Civil Cross-Cutting Talk
Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The study proposes a comprehensive analysis of the factors that can enable large-scale, diverse publics to engage in political talk, maintain civil cross-cutting discussion, and avoid disinformation in WhatsApp groups. This will be done by examining Israeli groups organically constructed on WhatsApp for the purpose of political talk, that are very heterogeneous politically, and none-the-less manage to actively engage in civil cross-cutting political discussion.
The use and abuse of WhatsApp in an African election: Nigeria 2019
Jonathan Fisher, D. Phil., University of Birmingham (Principal Investigator); Nic Cheeseman, D.Phil., University of Birmingham (co-investigator); Idayat Hassan, L.L.B., Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja (co-investigator); Jamie Hitchen, M.A., AREA Consulting (co-investigator)
This study will use multi-method social science research instruments including in-country interviews, focus groups and surveys to explore how WhatsApp is used by political candidates, and their campaigns and supporters to tailor messages to key audiences during elections. The research will focus on two gubernatorial elections in the upcoming 2019 Nigerian polls – those of Kano (northern Nigeria) and Oyo (southern Nigeria).