iSchool researchers lead international, interdisciplinary collaboration on governance of everyday misinformation

Melissa Ocepek
Melissa Ocepek, Assistant Professor
Madelyn Sanfilippo
Madelyn Rose Sanfilippo, Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor Melissa Ocepek and Assistant Professor Madelyn Sanfilippo have built and currently lead an interdisciplinary, collaborative group of researchers at the intersection of everyday information, knowledge governance, and misinformation to address how people experience, produce, and manage misinformation in their everyday lives.

Following a series of online workshops over the past year, they co-hosted the Governing Everyday Misinformation Workshop at the University of Illinois on July 14-15, which was held in a hybrid format, to bring together scholars from fourteen institutions around the world, including Illinois. The event was supported by an award from NSF (#2017495, RCN: The Governing Knowledge Commons Research Coordination Network), on which Sanfilippo serves as co-PI, and featured discussions of work in progress borne out of this collaboration that will be published as an edited collection of case studies on "everyday misinformation" in the Cambridge Studies on Governing Knowledge Commons book series. Ocepek and Sanfilippo serve as the book's co-editors.

Topics covered at the workshop included:

  • How to manage issues on Twitter.
  • Password security and misinformation.
  • WhatsApp and radicalization.
  • Storytelling and/as misinformation.
  • Accepting and expecting deception on Instagram.
  • Everyday misinformation and conspiracy in online information worlds.
  • Complexities and content moderation on Google maps and local guides platform.
  • Hidden virality and the everyday burden of correcting WhatsApp misinformation.
  • Information hazing in computer science education.

Visual representations of the workshop conversations are now available on the workshop website.

"It has been wonderful to bring our different research expertise together with so many great scholars to try and use a new approach to help understand the small ways misinformation shapes our lives," said Ocepek.

Ocepek's research and teaching interests include everyday information behavior, cultural theory, critical theory, food studies, and research methods. She holds a BA in sociology and political science from Pepperdine University and a PhD in information science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Sanfilippo's research empirically explores governance of sociotechnical systems as well as outcomes, inequality, and consequences within these systems. She earned her MIS and PhD in information science from Indiana University.

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