New research fellowship in partnership with City University’s Journalism department and the HNRN will investigate fake news

A British Academy fellowship project by University of Massachusetts Amherst associate professor Jonathan Corpus Ong will see the researcher and City University’s Humanitarian News Research Network team up over the summer to investigate practices and interventions around fake news.

Picture by Philip Strong @strong18philip

The Project

Titled Global Disinformation Architectures: A Comparative Framework in Evaluating and Designing Interventions to Information Disorder, the project will adopt a global and comparative approach to investigate the outcomes of fake news production and design culturally appropriate interventions. Moving beyond the current focus on social media manipulation’s impact on the United States elections, the project wishes to compare and contrast the social harms caused by disinformation architects using comparative case studies in Southeast Asia and Europe.

By developing a new concept of “global disinformation architectures”, this project sets out to provide a systematic framework to guide the design of interventions to digital disinformation that can be adapted to national political and media systems. Through case studies and a workshops, the project will explore what European legislation on moderating fake news and holding platform intermediaries accountable can mean for global South countries lacking in lobbying power with big tech companies. The project will also critically examine common practices in populist communication and networked disinformation production, while rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach to addressing information disorders.

The project leader, Jonathan Corpus Ong, says:

“The problem of fake news is so complex and pernicious that we need to think of new ways of collaborating and linking up people who don’t otherwise work together. I look forward to working with leading journalism scholars and practitioners at City to tackle fake news as a global problem that requires ethnographers and journalists, artists and tech designers to reflect on what’s been done and what we can do better to weaken the global disinformation architecture.”

Jonathan Corpus Ong

Jonathan Corpus Ong is an Associate Professor in Global Digital Media at the Department of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst (USA). A global scholar who worked at Tulane University (USA), the University of Leicester (UK), and Hong Kong Baptist University (Hong Kong), Jonathan is also the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the leading journal Television and New Media.

He was previously the Principal Investigator to a Newton Fund Institutional Links grant by the British Council, which established an international network of researchers and policymakers investigating digital technologies in low- and middle-income countries. Jonathan’s research has been consistently engaged with the ethics and politics of media and communication technologies and their consequences to vulnerable communities in the global South.

Jonathan is looking forward to reconnecting with the Humanitarian News Research Network, with whom he has previously collaborated, and to working in City University’s leading journalism department. He says:

“The unique combination of journalism scholars and practitioners at City University and its linkages with the news and promotional industries make for an ideal environment to pursue this research.”

Read our summary of Jonathan’s report on social media trolls’ impact on fake news in the Philippines here.