Bad Information Banner. Exploring How Mis/Disinformation Works and Why it Matters.

Bad Info: Fake News, Manipulated Photographs, and Social Media Influencers focuses on media/information literacy and the problem of mis/dis-information. The series of events will examine

  1. the differences between fakeplatforms that manifest as real news outlets and credible news sources;
  2. the role of images as evidence on digital platforms, while providing a historical context for understanding how photography has always grappled with manipulation;
  3. social media influencers’ use of psychological appeals in concealing advertising as unbiased information.

The project includes a series of exhibitions and workshops, keynote addresses and panel discussions, and film screenings.


Fall 2021

Exhibit - Glass Room Misinformation

Oct 25 - Nov 21 Van Pelt and Opie Library
Glass Room: Misinformation Edition explores how social media and  the web have changed the way we read information and react to it.  It exposes new types of influencers, the new and old tactics they  use, and the role we as the users and consumers play in the way  information flows and changes within that flow. It also examines  the relationship between personal data, targeting and opinions,  views and behaviors, as well as the business models behind it. 

Keynote and Reception - “The True Costs of Misinformation,” Dr. Joan Donovan

Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, Harvard University
Oct 27, 5:30-8pm Van Pelt and Opie Library
Dr. Donovan is a leading public scholar and disinformation researcher, specializing in media manipulation, political movements, critical internet studies, and online extremism. The talk will explore the ways in which social media companies are trying to patch the holes in a failing sociotechnical system, where the problems their products have created are now shouldered by journalists, universities and health professionals, just to name a few. It will further promote discussion about what can be done to restore moral and technical order.

Film and Discussion - After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News (2020)

Oct 28, 6:30-8:30pm Fisher 135
Join us for screening of HBO's film "After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News" (2020). The film offers a look at the ongoing threat caused by the phenomenon of "fake news" in the U.S., focusing on the real-life consequences that disinformation, conspiracy theories, and false news stories have on the average citizen. The screening will be followed by a discussion featuring Dr. Briana Bettin, Department of Computer Science; Dr. Sue Collins, Department of Humanities, and Dr. Stefka Hristova, Department of Humanities.
Free Admission.

Interactive Discussion - Popping the Filter Bubble

Nov 3, 5-7pm Van Pelt and Opie Library
Discussion facilitators, which include faculty, lecturers, and staff from a range of departments on campus, will each present relevant research to help participants better understand the role of algorithms, information filtering, and strategies to work around them. They will then lead small-group discussions on each topic so that participants can actively engage with and manage the flow of information around them. 

41 North Film Festival

The Viewing Booth (2019) Nov 5, 5-6:30pm
Storm Lake (2021) - Art Cullen and Beth Levison Nov 5, 7:30-9:30pm
Writing with Fire (2021) Nov 6, 4-5:45pm
Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

Keynote - “Misinformed about the 'Infodemic? Science's ongoing struggle with misinformation,” Dr. Dietram Scheufele,

Taylor-Bascom Chair and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Nov 10, 5-7pm Van Pelt and Opie Library
Dietram A. Scheufele is the Taylor-Bascom Chair in Science Communication and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the Morgridge Institute for Research. His work examines the social effects of emerging science and technology. Scheufele currently co-chairs the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Standing Committee on Advancing Science Communication and the consensus study committee on Addressing Inaccurate and Misleading Information about Biological Threats.
This talk cautions against thinking about potential interventions primarily in ways that operationalizes being “misinformed” in terms of individuated evidence-incongruent beliefs. Most importantly, informational interventions targeted toward recipients of information underappreciate (a) the power of algorithmically targeted (mis)information, and (b) the policy complexities surrounding uncertain, emerging science.

Film - The Social Dilemma (2020)

Dec 2,  8:30-10pm Fisher 135
Join us for screening of "The Social Dilema" (2020). The film reveals how social media is reprogramming civilization with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.

Spring 2022

RTC Colloquium - Communicating, Misinformation, and Disinformation

Feb 14, 4-5:30pm North Mezzanine, Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

Workshop - Search Like a Fact Checker

Feb 17, 2-3pm Van Pelt and Opie Library

Workshop - Archives and Questions of Truth

Feb 24, 6-7:30pm Van Pelt and Opie Library

Film - Feels Good Man (2020)

March 23rd, 6:30pm, Fisher 135

Exhibit - Photography in Black and White

Apr 6 - Apr 30 Copper Country Community Art Center
The exhibit explores truth and manipulation in relation to photography. It features the analog photographic work of Michigan Tech students and Alumni. 

Keynote and Reception - Nick Brandreth, Photographer and Artist

Apr 7, 5-7pm Copper Country Community Art Center
Nick Brandreth is internationally recognized as a master of photographic process, with a decade of experience as the Historic Process Specialist at the George Eastman Museum. His extensive research on the evolution of historic and alternative photographic processes has made him a sought-after teaching artist and enabled him to develop a diverse and innovative bodies of work using techniques like dry plate glass negatives, handmade early-20th-century-era motion picture film, Lippmann color plates and holograms to name a few. Brandreth creates unique photographic objects and apparatus to display and interact with his work. Brandreth taps into his deep knowledge and expertise of photographic process and combines them with a love for horror and the macabre as well as the histories of photography and cinema to create a surreal landscape of work that explores the ideas of time, fear and the unknown. Using 3D printers, simple lenses, electronics, bookbinding and woodworking techniques, Brandreth’s art spans a range of mediums. His handmade works are seductive and utterly uncanny. Brandreth strives for his work to be cinematic, intimate, interactive and engaging.
Join us on Zoom -

Keynote - Reinventing Journalism in the Age of Disinformation

Apr 14, 5-7pm Van Pelt and Opie Library

The Bad Info project presents a talk by award-winning ProPublica journalist Craig Silverman, “Reinventing Journalism in the Age of Mis/Disinformation” on Thursday, April 14, 5-7pm in the Robert J. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library East Reading Room. Josh Vissers, founder of Copper Beacon, will moderate Q&A. 

Light refreshments will be provided. Zoom link provided here. []

Journalists around the world are contending with an information environment filled with false and misleading claims, manipulated media, influence campaigns, and viral hoaxes. This talk examines the global growth of the mis/disinformation beat within newsrooms, the techniques used in this work, and the challenges and risks facing reporters and the public.

Bio: Craig Silverman is an award-winning journalist and author and one of the world's leading experts on online disinformation, fake news, and digital investigations. He recently joined ProPublica as a reporter investigating voting, platforms, disinformation, and online manipulation. He's also the editor of the European Journalism Centre’s Verification Handbook series. Craig previously served as media editor of BuzzFeed News, where he pioneered coverage of digital disinformation and media manipulation. He received a George Polk Award in 2021 for a series of articles about Facebook, and is the recipient of the Carey McWilliams Award from the American Political Science Association, which honors “a major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics.” His 2019 series exposing a global Facebook advertising scam was also named investigation of the year by the Canadian Association of Journalists. His journalism and books have also been honored by the Mirror Awards, U.S. National Press Club, National Magazine Awards (Canada), and Crime Writers of Canada.

Workshop - Detecting Manipulated Photographs

May 2022 Virtual