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Seminar series

Misinformation exposure beyond traditional feeds

Evidence from a WhatsApp deactivation experiment in Brazil

Add to calendar 2024-02-07 16:00 2024-02-07 17:00 Europe/Rome Misinformation exposure beyond traditional feeds Online meeting Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


07 February 2024

16:00 - 17:00 CET


Online meeting


In the context of the CIVICA Data Science seminar series, this session features a presentation by Tiago Ventura (Georgetown University).

In most advanced democracies, concerns about the spread of misinformation are most often associated with feed-based social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and these platforms also account for the vast majority of research on the topic. However, in most of the world, particularly in Global South countries, misinformation often reaches citizens through social media messaging apps, particularly WhatsApp. To fill the resulting gap in the literature, we conducted a multimedia deactivation experiment intended to test the impact of reduced exposure to potential sources of misinformation on WhatsApp during the weeks leading up to the 2022 Presidential election in Brazil. We find that this treatment significantly reduced subjects' exposure to false rumours circulating widely during the election. However, consistent with theories of mass media's minimal effects, a short-term reduction in exposure to misinformation ahead of the election did not lead to significant changes in belief accuracy or political polarisation.

About the series:

The CIVICA Data Science seminar series is an interdisciplinary forum of the CIVICA European University of Social Sciences, an alliance of eight leading higher education and research institutions. The series fosters a community of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers working to address complex societal challenges through the use of novel methodological and data-driven approaches, drawing from machine learning and quantitative methods from biology, sociology, political sciences, economics, and physics, among other disciplines. Shared among the partner institutions of the CIVICA network, this series directly addresses the data science research stream of the CIVICA initiative.

The Zoom link will be sent upon registration.

Scientific Organiser(s):

Julia Leschke (EUI)

Virginia Rocha (EUI)


Tiago Ventura (Georgetown University)

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