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The spread and correction of false information has historical roots in sensationalist journalism, political disagreement, foreign espionage, state, religious or ethnic propaganda, and partisan debates: a collection of approaches far richer than suggested by the phrase “fake news.” “The Consequences of Misinformation” was a symposium on the history, circulation, and management of misinformation (untruths circulated without the intention to deceive) and disinformation (untruths intended to deceive).

The symposium was informed by social scientific and journalistic perspectives on the most effective means of understanding and countering false information, even as it explores the challenges in doing so. The panelists spoke to three aspects of the current moment in misinformation: the status of facts/persistence of misinformation, the speed, virality, and spread of misinformation, and what we—or anyone—can do to correct or manage the misinformation that already exists.

Conference chairs:
E.J. Dionne, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution and Syndicated Columnist, The Washington Post
John Sides, Associate Professor of Political Science, George Washington University

Conference hosts:
Media & Democracy program, Social Science Research Council
The Brookings Institution

With support from:
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Democracy Fund
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation