Doctoral Researcher / Research Assistant | Aarhus University

Digital false information at scale in the European Union: Current state of research in various disciplines, and future directions

The aim was to find out what we know about false information on digital platforms in the EU, and to focus on large scale research that is aimed at identifying overall patterns.

Research informing summary:
Journal article: Digital false information at scale in the European Union: Current state of research in various disciplines, and future directions (2022)
Peer Reviewed
|
Co-authors:

About:

This research used a qualitative approach.

The methodology used was systematic review of academic literature.

|

Funding:

European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO)

Key points

  • We lack studies that can say something more general about false information across events, regions, and platforms as many of the studies are case specific and use Twitter data.

The purpose of this paper was to create an overview of what is known about false information on digital media in the EU. As of now, research on false information remain mostly focused on the US and UK, because large scale data sets are available and tools for computational analysis are mostly trained in English. This is two reasons why there is a bias toward English datasets. Thus, we wanted to find out which regions were covered in the EU, by which fields, and also try to point future research in the direction of countries that we know very little about.

Findings

  • Most research is conducted on the US by default and we could benefit from a stronger focus on the EU, as studies indicate that there are regional differences in the characteristics of false information: for example, how susceptible are citizens to false information, what are the main topics of false information, and is it politically driven? Despite our focus on the EU in the keyword selection for the literature search, the UK and the US remained in the top three most studied countries. Another interesting finding: Italy is the most studied European country, which might be due to a focus on Italy during the Covid pandemic. Predictably, Twitter is the most studied platform because it is the easiest to collect data from. We conducted a systematic literature review. This means that we formulated relevance criteria, such as keywords related to misinformation (e.g., disinformation, conspiracy, fake news), timeframe, and countries. Afterwards, we chose a search engine and filtered the results, which gave us a sample of 93 papers. This sample of academic publications included in the review consisted of journal articles, proceedings from computer science, and a few book chapters.

What it means

One cannot have a one size fits all model on how to combat misinformation because information environments differ on regional basis.

How to use

Special thanks to Carmen Gabriela Lupu for preparation assistance

We would like to extend a special thank you to Carmen Gabriela Lupu, for their invaluable contribution in assisting the preparation of this research summary.

Already have an account? Log in

Or join Acume to share your socially impactful research with policymakers. Publishing research is easy, impactful and free.

Share
de Place Bak, Petra. 'Digital false information at scale in the European Union: Current state of research in various disciplines, and future directions'. Acume. https://www.acume.org/r/digital-false-information-at-scale-in-the-european-union-current-state-of-research-in-various-disciplines-and-future-directions/