Articles on Social media and democracy

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Do you want to be friends with this person? Sasun Bughdaryan

Why do so many people fall for fake profiles online?

Almost every online deception, fraud and scam – even propaganda and misinformation campaigns – begins with a fake social media profile. How do fakers get real people to agree to be friends?
Civic groups like the Boy Scouts are likely under attack by Russian agents – and likely don’t know it. Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

Why the Russians might hack the Boy Scouts next

Russia is trying to create social tension in the US to boost its own strength on the world stage. That includes targeting society itself.
People who share potential misinformation on Twitter (in purple) rarely get to see corrections or fact-checking (in orange). Shao et al.

Misinformation and biases infect social media, both intentionally and accidentally

Information on social media can be misleading because of biases in three places – the brain, society and algorithms. Scholars are developing ways to identify and display the effects of these biases.
Balancing personal privacy with detailed insights. Dawn Hudson/Shutterstock.com

I want your (anonymized) social media data

Researchers analyze social media data to gain useful insights into modern society and culture. But it's important to protect users' privacy. How can both ends meet?
How does searching affect voting? Blablo101/Shutterstock.com

When will Google defend democracy?

Social media sites aren't the only online systems that can secretly influence people's votes. Search engines can too and may be even more successful – and undetectable.
Social media companies combine many pieces of information into a complex digital profile. Tetiana Yurchenko/Shutterstock.com

To serve a free society, social media must evolve beyond data mining

For years, watchdogs have warned of the potential problems of sharing data with online companies. The Facebook data crisis has made these concerns much more real. What should be done now?
We love to take personality tests, but is it time to think more about the corporate interests behind them? (Shutterstock)

Our ongoing love-hate relationship with personality tests

Personality tests played a central role in the recent Facebook scandal over corporate harvesting of personal data. Why are businesses so interested in them?

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