Fake News and Filter Bubbles: The Quello Search Project

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Bill Dutton will present the findings of the Quello Search Project to kick off a workshop on fake news and filter bubbles at Bruegel, a European think tank, specializing in economics, that is based in Brussels. Background on the Quello Search Project can be found in the initial report of the project, Search and Politics: The Uses and Impacts of Search in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the United States. A short blog about the thrust of our findings is also online, entitled “Fake News, Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles: Underresearched and Overhyped“.

Brussels

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Conference on Emerging Media at Peking University

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The new department of Emerging Media at Peking University, Beijing, China, held a conference on 15 September 2017 on its subject, ‘Emerging Media’, subtitled Connection, Innovation, Transformation. Peking University is at the top of universities across China, so its establishment of this department about four years ago is reminiscent of Oxford University establishing the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) in 2001. I expect that this new department will have an even larger impact on the development of the field of Internet and new media studies across China and around the world. It was an honor to give one of the keynotes around our research on the political implications of search.

My thanks to the Dean, Professor XIE Xinzhou, and his colleagues at Peking University, including Professors WANG Xiuli (Charlene), Professor LI Wei and TIAN Lily, from Peking Un, and many helpful students, such as Rita Ji, who helped me throughout my stay. Their team pulled together colleagues from around the world, including James Katz (Boston College), S. Shyam Sundar (Penn State), Leopoldina Fortunati (Un of Udine), ZHOU Baohua (Fudan), WEI Ran (Un of South Carolina), Erik P. Bucy (Texas Tech), WANG Xiaoguang (Wuhan Un), ZHANNG Hongzhong (Beijing Normal Un), Kuang WenBo (Renmin Un), HAN Gang (Iowa State Un), Gil De Zoniga Homero (a former OII SDP student, now chaired professor at Un of Vienna), Eriko Uematsu (Musashino Gakuin Un), Neta Kligler-Vilenchik (Hebrew Un of Jerusalem), YU Nan (Un of Central Florida), and my former colleague while visiting the OII, Professor JIN Jianbain (Tsinghua Un).

They organized an engaging several days of talks and visits, such as to the Headquarters of Sina Weibo, giving all of us a personal sense of current developments around the Internet and social media in China.

James Katz and Bill Dutton

Conference at Peking University Dept Emerging Media

Dutton Speaking at Peking

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Ruth Shillair Joining Quello Research Team

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Ruth Shillair is joining the Quello Center’s research team as a Research Assistant in this Spring Semester to support our work on cybersecurity, which is linked to the Oxford Global Cyber Security Capacity Center (GCSEC). She is working with Bill Dutton on an analysis that builds on his concept of a cyber security mindset and another analysis that focuses on the outcomes of national cyber security capacity building: Can we see capacity having a positive, independent impact on cyber security?

Ruth Shillair

Ms. Shillair is a doctoral student in the Media and Information Department at MSU. Her research has focused on cyber security, such as in working with the Online Safety for the Ages (OSA) project with Professors Bob LaRose, Nora Rifkin, Saleem Alhabaash, and Sheila Cotten, which focuses on generational differences in online safety behaviors, particularly in the area of online banking.

Ruth has been recognized at MSU, such as in being awarded with one of the Department’s PhD Academic Merit Awards, and an ‘outstanding doctoral student research’ award. She also participated in the Oxford Internet Institute’s (OII) Summer Doctoral Program (SDP). As Bill Dutton, Director of the Quello Center noted: “We are very lucky to have Ruth onboard as her expertise in cyber security and quantitative analysis is going to help us leap ahead on our cyber security research.”

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Dr Bianca Reisdorf Advances on Two Tracks

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It is official. Dr Bibi Reisdorf has been promoted both in the Quello Center and in the Department of Media and Information of our College of Communication Arts and Sciences at MSU.

In the Quello Center, Dr Reisdorf will be Assistant Director, working to support the Center’s research, outreach, and development. Bibi joined the Quello Center just last year as a Quello Post-Doctoral Fellow in Media and Information Policy. She came to us from the University of Leicester, where she was a Lecturer and Director of Distance Learning in their Department of Media and Communication. She has also been an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati. But it was not only her experience that merited her promotion.

At the Center, Bibi’s commitment and innovative approaches to research on digital inequalities have proven to be catalytic to a number of grant proposals and publications. Her role in outreach for the Center has been remarkable also. So we will not just be keeping Bibi at the Center, but enabling her to play an even greater role.

In the Department, Bibi was awarded a position as assistant professor. In this role, Professor Reisdorf will be redeveloping and teaching the department’s new undergraduate research methods course, and will be able to play a more active role in building the rising academic profile of the Department and College.

When I was at the University of Oxford, Bibi Reisdorf became a doctoral student, and soon took on an important role as a research assistant on the Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS), which tracked the use and impact of the Internet in Britain from 2003 through 2013. Bibi demonstrated such a natural gift and remarkable acumen for quantitative analyses and survey research that she became a valued member of the OxIS team from her first days. It has been a delight to see her bring such talent to the department and the Quello Center at MSU.

Ruth Shillair and Bibi Reisdorf (name tag)

Ruth Shillair and Bibi Reisdorf (name tag)

Bianca received her D.Phil. degree in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, in 2012, having completed an M.A. in Sociology at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, in 2008.

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