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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Washington
  • Kate Starbird
  • (206) 543-4043
  • Emma Spiro
  • Jevin West
Award Date:07/25/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 2,249,918
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 797,106
  • FY 2021=$797,106
Start Date:10/01/2021
End Date:09/30/2026
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.070
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: SaTC: CORE: Large: Rapid-Response Frameworks for Mitigating Online Disinformation
Federal Award ID Number:2120496
DUNS ID:605799469
Parent DUNS ID:042803536
Program:Secure &Trustworthy Cyberspace
Program Officer:
  • Sara Kiesler
  • (703) 292-8643

Awardee Location

Street:4333 Brooklyn Ave NE
Awardee Cong. District:07

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Washington
Street:4333 Brooklyn Ave NE
Cong. District:07

Abstract at Time of Award

Disinformation is a critical, pressing challenge for society. It diminishes our ability to respond to crisis events, including acts of terrorism and pandemics. It makes us vulnerable, as individuals, groups, and a society, to manipulation from foreign governments, financial opportunists, and a range of other bad actors. This problem, exacerbated by the design and widespread use of social media platforms, is inherently a problem of trust — disinformation undermines trust in information, science, democratic institutions, journalism, and in each other. This research advances our understanding of online disinformation and applies innovative approaches and collaboration infrastructure to address this challenge at a sophistication and pace on par with the dynamic and interdisciplinary nature of the challenge. Through the development, implementation of rapid response frameworks, the research team rapidly identifies disinformation campaigns and communicates those findings uniquely to diverse stakeholders in government, industry, media, and the broader public — helping to build societal resilience to this kind of manipulation. This research has three integrated components: 1) developing models and theories of how disinformation is seeded, cultivated, and spread that take into account the sociotechnical nature of the problem; 2) developing and applying innovative, rapid-analysis frameworks for responding to disinformation quickly; and 3) implementing and evaluating the impact of multi-stakeholder collaborations to address disinformation in real-time during real-world events. The work applies a mixed-method approach that integrates novel visualizations and network analysis to identify patterns and anomalies with qualitative analysis that reveals the meanings of those features. Extending from a rapid response approach, investigators are also developing and evaluating, using interviews and experiments, strategies for communicating these findings with diverse stakeholders. Conceptually, this research leverages theories of rumoring from sociology and social psychology and the growing body of literature related to online manipulation to shed light on the participatory dynamics of disinformation campaigns. In terms of impacts on scientific infrastructure, this effort builds collaboration frameworks that others can use to create their own systems for rapid response. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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