Parallel Session 2: Combatting Fake News
Tuesday 9 April 14:45 - 16:30
Parenting forum Mumsnet may not seem like the most obvious place to find solutions to the problems of fake news and misinformation, but it is surprisingly revealing about what information online is trusted - a key aspect of the fake news issue. The first part of this session will look at the results of a detailed study of forum posts on Mumsnet over a 4-month period. The posts shine a light on how people determine whether information is trusted and credible when they are online – both inside forums and outside. It will also consider other studies that have sought to determine what influences the extent to which fake news is propagated. While some of the findings of this research are a cause for concern for those involved in science communication, they also point towards some practical solutions to the challenge of fake news.
The second part of the session will build on the findings from the research and look towards solutions to fake news. A central theme will be the importance of developing relationships with audiences and forming communities of trust. The session will present practical ideas relevant to those communicating everything from climate change to particle physics. How do you connect with audiences online? Are certain platforms and forms of communication better than others when forming communities of trust? This part of the session will draw not only on lessons from the existing research but also from my experiences as a science journalist over the past decade.