Rifat, Priyank and Prianka have been awarded one of the UofT COVID-19 Student Engagement awards. Congratulations! Their project is titled “Investigating the Spread of Misinformation by Religious Preachers” and described here:
We have two goals in this project: First, analyzing the phenomena of COVID-19 related fake news generation and spread by religious preachers on social media. Many religious preachers around the world generate and spread inappropriate, false, and overly inflated partial truth relating to COVID-19. On the other hand, their followers often lack sufficient knowledge for fact-checking the information. Our exploration will involve an analysis of the diffusion network of misinformation by preachers and a qualitative exploration of the multifaceted roles of technology in spreading misinformation generated by preachers. This particular goal also involves re-assessing existing definitions of fake news through which misinformation-is categorized and analyzed in existing research. Second, using religious institutional forces to mitigate the generation and effect of fake news. Clergies in religious organizations hold strong social capital. We will explore how we could use their social capital to combat the spread of misinformation with the help of technology.