New guide helps journalists, researchers investigate misinformation, memes and trolling

The field guide’s series of visual “recipes” focuses on capturing how digital platforms shape misleading information.

Recent scandals about the role of social media in key political events in the US, UK and other European countries over the past couple of years have underscored the need to understand the interactions between digital platforms, misleading information and propaganda, and their influence on collective life in democracies.

In response to this, the Public Data Lab and First Draft collaborated last year to develop a free, open-access guide to help students, journalists and researchers investigate misleading and viral content, memes and trolling practices online.

The five chapters of the guide describe a series of research protocols or “recipes” that can be used to trace trolling practices, the ways false viral news and memes circulate online, and the commercial underpinnings of problematic content. Each recipe provides an accessible overview of the key steps, methods, techniques and datasets used.

The guide is freely available on the Public Data Lab’s website. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution license to encourage readers to freely copy, translate, redistribute and reuse the book.

More about the guide on FirstDraft News

Download the guide at the Public Data Lab’s website.

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