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Workshop to address how to combat misinformation, fake news

Friday, November 03, 2017

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas professors will present an all-day event next week that will examine the consequences of misinformation in democratic societies and how to detect, address and combat the creation and dissemination of fake news.

Hyunjin Seo, associate professor of strategic communication in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and Fengjun Li, associate professor of computer science in the School of Engineering, are co-chairs of "Misinformation in the Social Media Age: A Research and Practice Workshop.” The event will take place Thursday, Nov. 9.

The professors received a KU Research Investment Council strategic initiative grant in 2014 for their research to better detect fake online reviews utilizing algorithms in which they analyzed millions of Yelp comments. Recently, with the explosion of “fake news” infiltrating the U.S. presidential campaign via social media, Seo and Li decided to broaden the focus of their research on misinformation.

More than two dozen presenters and panelists who are experts in different areas of information are participating, including representatives from Harvard University, National Public Radio, Yelp, TripAdvisor, The Kansas City Star, and various libraries and local news organizations. An interdisciplinary panel also features faculty from KU, including professors of journalism, sociology, computer science, public administration and the libraries. 

Seo says the goal of the workshop is to help facilitate collaboration between different industries, including news organizations, online review platforms, academia, public libraries and citizens to more effectively combat the global contagion of misinformation.

The workshop, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Commons in Spooner Hall, is composed of 10 sessions, including lunch, and will be followed by a networking reception. The free event is open to the public, but advance registration is requested. See the workshop schedule and register here: smmworkshop.ku.edu.

The workshop is sponsored by the KU Research Investment Council, KU School of Journalism, the KU Information & Telecommunication Technology Center and the KU Center for Digital Inclusion.

Photos, from top: Hyunjin Seo, associate professor of strategic communication in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and Fengjun Li, associate professor of computer science.


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