This call for proposals has ended. 


The viral spread of false, misleading, and inaccurate information threatens democracy globally. Originally lauded as inherently democratic, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are now condemned as negligent outlets answerable for “post-truth” politics. An often unspoken assumption is that providing correct information will solve broader problems. Tellingly, however, the 2016 US presidential election was described both as “the authenticity election” and as normalizing “fake news”: the more certain politicians lie, the more authentic they appear. Central to the study of mis- and disinformation are thus questions of how and under what circumstances—social, cultural, historical, and technical—information is deemed “truthful,” “factual,” or “authentic,” when the concepts are related but not interchangeable. What is the role of authenticity in understanding why mis- and disinformation become accepted or meaningful for people? How does authenticity relate to other key concepts, such as truth, fact, and accuracy? What other key words or concepts are necessary, and yet perhaps undertheorized, in the study of information disorder and democracy?

This workshop invited responses that interrogate the centrality of authenticity to the viral spread of mis- and disinformation, as well as the relationship of authenticity to other key concepts such as “truth,” “fact,” “trust,” and/or “veracity.” We encouraged responses that take on one or more of these key words or phrases (or others) and investigate their role in propagating or countering mis- and disinformation.

Workshop Chair

Wendy Chun
Director, Digital Democracies Institute
Simon Fraser University


Opeyemi Akanbi
Ryerson University
Co-Autho(s): Steph Hill, Jeremy Shtern
“Case Studies of Facebook’s Oversight Board and Sidewalk Lab’s Proposed Data Review Board”

Kim Barker
Open University Law School
“Authenticity and Extrinsic Verification – Perceptions v Misperceptions as a Challenge for Legal Regulation?”

Noel Brett
McMaster University
“Political Authentication Protocols: Epistemic logic, Computer Networks, and Political Identities”

Andre Brock
Georgia Tech
“Not Just Belief: Weak-Tie Racism as a Substrate for Racial Misinformation”

Rebecca Emigh
University of California, Los Angeles
“How Authenticity and Truth Are Conveyed In Visuality, Orality, and Literacy”

Anna Watkins Fisher
University of Michigan
“Meme Me”

Iginio Gagliardone
University of Witwatersrand
Co-author(s): Stephane Diepeveen, Kyle Findlay, Samuel Olaniran, Matti Pohjonen, Edwin Tallam
“Locating COVID-19 conspiracies in South Africa and Nigeria”

Sam Gregory
“Ticks or It Didn’t Happen”: How do we ensure emerging authenticity infrastructure helps, not hurts, global human rights and free expression”

Nelanthi Hewa
University of Toronto
“In the eyes of the public: Sexual violence survivorship and the demand for authenticity”

Steph Hill
Ryerson University
“Strategic Communication and the Governance of Online Content Quality: The Stop Hate for Profit Campaign Against Facebook”

Lilly Irani
University of California, San Diego
“Authenticating Untrusted Workers: Error and Fraud on Amazon Mechanical Turk”

Heather Jaber
Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania
“This Is Lebanon, the kafala system, and the search for motivations”

Ioana Jucan
Emerson College
Co-Author(s): Melody Devries, Alexandra Juhasz
“Authenticity, Performativity, and Performance”

Emillie de Keulenaar
Simon Fraser University
“Saying it like it is: truth and transgressive speech”

Ganaele Langlois
York University
Co-Author(s): Liliana Bounegru, Esther Weltevedre
“The Research Persona Method”’

Becca Lewis
Data & Society
Co-Author(s): Angèle Christin
“Rumors, Conspiracies, and the Anxieties of Authenticity: The Drama Community on YouTube”

Stefan Alexandru Luca
European University Institute
“Mastering fire: embedding platforms’ CIB practices in democratic systems”

Laura Merchán-Rincón
Universidad De Los Andes, Bogotá
Co-Author(s): Juan Carlos Rodríguez-Raga
“What makes believable a conspiracy theory? The relationship between Populism and Covid-19 conspiracy theories in Latin America”

Rachel Moran
University of Washington
“Trust and Authenticity as Tools for Journalism and Weapons for Partisan Disinformation”

Lexi Neame
Stanford University
“Authority without Authenticity? From unmasking disinformation, to building public knowledge infrastructures”

Annika Nilsson
Washington University in St Louis
“Trolling for Good? A Case Study of Strategic Inauthenticity in the Covid-19 “Anti-Mask” Movement”

Alejandro Paz
University of Toronto
“Translating Authenticity: Factual Truth in Contemporary Israeli Online Journalism”

Sarah Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles
“Operational Mistake”

Javier Ruiz-Soler
Simon Fraser University
Co-Author(s): Jaime-Lee Kirtz, Denise Toor, Ganaele Langlois, Ioana Jucan, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
“Beyond Verification: Modelling Authenticity”

Andrea Slane
Ontario Tech
“Backcasting Trustworthy Social Support Technologies for Seniors”

Maite Taboada
Simon Fraser University
“Authentic language in fake news”

Heidi Tworek
University of British Columbia
“Authenticity in Health Communications”

Moira Weigel
Data & Society
Co-Author(s): Will Partin
“Making Authenticity: The Code, the Clock, and the QAnon Conspiracy Theory”

Esther Weltevedre
University of Amsterdam
Co-Author(s): Johan Lindquist
“Good Enough Publics”

Tim Wood
Fordham University
“The Company We Keep: Corporate Front Groups and the Online Construction of Political Authenticity”