How misinformation spreads online and shapes behavior

How misinformation spreads online and shapes behavior

May 5, 20221 min read

With the Internet as a font of information, particularly during a major crisis or conflict, a simple Google search can produce a stream of conjecture, conspiracy and alternative facts. Then there’s the firehose of “news” flooding social media feeds. By headlines alone, it’s near impossible to separate wheat from chaff.

Coupled with that user frustration is a vulnerability to bad actors who push agendas under the guise of news. Indeed, on its worst days, the internet is a disinformation machine.

Understanding that dynamic and its impact on our moods and behavior is NJIT’s Julie Ancis, a behavioral psychologist who’s a pioneer in the field of cyberpsychology. Her research examines how disinformation spreads and shapes how we act online and in person. As she explains on her blog for Psychology Today:

“The speed and flow of information online has enabled information to be transferred on a mass global scale, galvanizing social movements such as the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and #MeToo. In short, the ways in which we consume information and communicate with others both locally and globally have fundamentally changed.”

To interview Ancis, click on the button below.

Connect with:
  • Julie Ancis
    Julie Ancis Professor, Informatics

    Dr. Julie Ancis explores cyberpsychology, the relationship between technology and human behavior, diversity and gender.

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