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A Multidisciplinary, Theoretical Model of Information Propagation: Why Do People Share Information and Narratives on Social Media

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Technical Report

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UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND College Park United States

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The revelations of Russian disinformation campaigns on social media against the U.S. population during the 2016 election have identified a stark vulnerability in the security of the United States e.g., Sydell,2017 United States of America v. Internet Research Agency LLC, 2018 Waltzman, 2017 Woolley and Howard, 2017. Fake news, as it is currently popularized,1 is not new, nor is propaganda e.g., Allcott and Gentzkow, 2017 Jowett and ODonnell, 2015 Lazer et al., 2018 McKernon, 1928 Pratkanis and Aronson, 2001.There has been an increase in this kind of information war by Russia against the United States and European countries at least since 2014 e.g., Paul and Matthews, 2016 Prier, 2017 Woolley and Howard, 2017. Information warfare does not simply occur between nations In addition, extremist groups recruit and spread propaganda online, both jihadi Islamic groups and right-wing extremists e.g., Benigni, Joseph, and Carley, 2017 Bowman-Grieve, 2013 Caiani and Wagemann, 2009 Derrick, Sporer, Church, and Ligon, 2016 Prier, 2017 Vidino and Hughes, 2015. These activities open up new fronts in the United States information environment, both domestically and abroad.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science

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