“Troubling Matters: Disinformation and the challenges of more ‘critical thinking’” webinar

The webinar offers a nuanced look into disinformation campaigns and presents a researcher’s perspective on these phenomena. Join us for a presentation followed by a Q&A session, in which Dr. Ahmer Arif will talk about human-centered responses to disinformation that go beyond mere fact checking.

In this webinar, we will discuss how our social computing systems are being used to intentionally spread misleading information and what we — as educators and designers — might do to address this. Drawing on examples from his research into disinformation campaigns, Dr. Arif  will add nuance to our understanding of what they are, and confront four commonly held misconceptions about how these campaigns work.

Specifically, our speaker will focus on the structure and dynamics of these campaigns as they targeted: 1) a humanitarian response group operating in the Syrian Civil War; and 2) a highly charged conversation in 2016 about police violence in America and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Dr. Arif will integrate the findings from these separate studies and draw on the literary theory of postcritique to broaden our repertoire of ideas on how we might address mis- and disinformation.

The webinar is organized by Fulbright Poland and financed by the U.S. Department of State from the Special Congressional Appropriation.

This webinar took place on June 24, 2021 as part of “The new media: between science and fiction” series.


You can access the recording directly on YouTube by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/1bewktp0D44


Ahmer Arif is an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin in the School of Information. His research falls at the intersection of computer science and social science and is situated within the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). He currently studies how people use communication technologies like social media to spread, shape and confront disinformation and misinformation.

He also conducts research into designing experiences in which we can reflect on our participation in these information spaces and the effects they are having on us. Beyond academia, he has had the good fortune to work as a researcher and consultant with several large organizations like Facebook, Yahoo!, The World Bank and the UN.

Learn more at ahmerarif.com.

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