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Quartz

Quartz reporter Nicolás Rivero highlights a study co-authored by Prof. David Rand that examines the effectiveness of labeling fake news on social media platforms. “I think most people working in this area agree that if you put a warning label on something, that will make people believe and share it less,” says Rand. “But most stuff doesn’t get labeled, so that’s a major practical limitation of this approach.”

buzzfeed

BuzzFeed reporter Arianna Rebolini spotlights Prof. Sherry Turkle’s book, “”Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.” Rebolini writes that in her book, Turkle “argues that the increasing integration of the internet into our daily lives has led to a growing sense of isolation — that the connections we make on social media don’t function as authentic communication.”

GBH

Prof. Sinan Aral speaks with Kara Miller of GBH’s Innovation Hub about his research examining the impact of social media on everything from business re-openings during the Covid-19 pandemic to politics.

NPR

Prof. Sinan Aral speaks with NPR’s Michael Martin about his new book, “The Hype Machine,” which explores the benefits and downfalls posed by social media. “I've been researching social media for 20 years. I've seen its evolution and also the techno utopianism and dystopianism,” says Aral. “I thought it was appropriate to have a book that asks, 'what can we do to really fix the social media morass we find ourselves in?'”

National Geographic

National Geographic reporters Monique Brouillette and Rebecca Renner spotlight Prof. Sinan Aral’s research exploring why untrue information tends to spread so quickly. “Human attention is drawn to novelty, to things that are new and unexpected,” says Aral. “We gain in status when we share novel information because it looks like we're in the know, or that we have access to inside information.”

The Boston Globe

In an excerpt from his new book published by The Boston Globe, Prof. Sinan Aral explores how to combat the spread of misinformation on social media platforms ahead of the 2020 election. “No matter who you support in the upcoming election, when it comes to protecting our democracy, we’re all in this together,” writes Aral. “And right now, during one of our fragile democracy’s most vulnerable moments, it’s all hands on deck.”

Los Angeles Times

In an Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times, Prof. Sinan Aral writes about the need for a coordinated response to the pandemic across state lines. “When a state reopens while its peer state remains closed, travel spikes from the closed state into the open state,” notes Aral. “Only when both states adopt similar shelter-in-place policies does travel between the states diminish.”

Fast Company

A study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that asking social media users to evaluate the accuracy of news headlines can reduce the spread of Covid-19 misinformation.  “Asking users to rate content gets them to think about accuracy and generates useful input for the platforms,” explains Prof. David Rand.

Quartz

Inspired by the interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, researchers at MIT have developed a “four-point strategy to understand the impact of fake news and social-media manipulation,” reports Annalisa Merelli for Quartz. Prof. Sinan Aral notes that “granting data access for analysis while otherwise maintaining strong protection of it would be vital” in order for the strategy to be used properly.  

Financial Times

In an article about how the social messaging app WhatsApp could have a large influence on the upcoming election in India, the Financial Times spotlights postdoctoral associate Kiran Garimella’s work examining how misinformation spreads in India through platforms such as WhatsApp.

NBC News

NBC News reporter Jacob Ward highlights how researchers from MIT, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Microsoft are developing a system that can help predict which pieces of art could most appeal to people based on their social media profiles and preferences.

Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Taylor Telford highlights a working paper by MIT researchers that examines how misinformation about vaccines spreads on social media. “The majority of misinformation about vaccines is spread by individuals,” explains Prof. Catherine Tucker. “That is a far harder problem to solve, as trying to clamp down on that kind of social sharing has tensions with trying to preserve free speech.”

New York Times

In an article for The New York Times, Prof. David Rand examines what makes people susceptible to believing false or misleading information. Rand and his co-author write that their research “suggests that the solution to politically charged misinformation should involve devoting resources to the spread of accurate information and to training or encouraging people to think more critically.”

HealthDay News

HealthDay reporter Steven Reinberg writes that a new study by Prof. Siqi Zheng finds that air pollution can make people unhappy. Zheng found that, “On days with high levels of pollution, people are more likely to engage in impulsive and risky behavior that they may later regret, possibly because of short-term depression and anxiety,” writes Reinberg.

Inverse

Inverse reporter Emma Betuel reports on a new study by MIT researchers showing that air quality impacts the happiness of people living in cities in China. “When the air is polluted people stay home, they don’t go out, and they order food delivery while staying home playing computer games and shopping online,” explains Prof. Siqi Zheng.