Holding on to lies! Unlocking the cognitive mechanism behind misinformation

Five years ago, the World Economic Forum declared that the spread of misinformation through social media was one of the greatest global risks to our future and prosperity. At that time, the future scale of the threat was still unclear, even to media experts. However, for anybody with the slightest doubt about how rapidly social networks are changing news consumption and its effects, last year was eye-opening and overwhelming. Misinformation and fake news have influenced every major voting process and strengthened science-denial movements — consider how ubiquitous anti-vaccine and climate change scepticism propaganda is. But what are the consequences and the remedies to this? On the 29th of June, this and other questions are the subject of discussion in the ‘Science journalism in a post-truth world’ session of the 4th European Conference for Science Journalists (ECSJ2017).

Fake news: unobservant audiences are easily swayed

Fake news is everywhere. Science-related pseudo facts have taken over the gossip sites and social media. And we are only at the beginning of an uphill battle to set the record straight. In this contribution, Melissa Hoover, shares her investigation on how people’s response to fake news makes it easier for such inaccurate stories to propagate at a rate that is way more important than fact-based news. And here is why…

ECSJ2017: Science Communication 5.0

EuroScientist is delighted to be able to share some of the discussions which took part during the 4th European Conference for Science Journalists in Copenhagen between 26th and 30th June 2017. They touched upon the evolving nature of science communication, how scientists are engaging with the public and issues related to evidence-based policy making. We would like to invite you to comment on individual articles using the dialogue box below each of the articles to continue the conversation.

Combating fake news in science

“Dandelion root benefits can boost your immune system and cure cancer,” “Lead developer of HPV vaccines comes clean, warns parents & young girls it’s all a giant deadly scam,” “Asteroid Warning: Govt Preps Underground Bases” — These are just three of a multitude of fake science headlines circulating on social media recently. They may all be debunked, but will they have a lasting effect on society? The impacts of fake news and the post-truth era are the subject of discussions at the 4th European Conference for Science Journalists (ECSJ2017) on 26–30 June in Copenhagen, Denmark.

HPV: Vaccines against cervical cancer

This article has been produced as part of a data journalism initiative called ‘Medicamentalia – Vaccines ‘ brought to you by the Civio Foundation. It outlines some of the successes in vaccination campaigns from governments across the world. It also gives you a historical perspective on the key scientists who have been instrumental in developing vaccines of the past centuries. Find out more, it makes for an insightful reading.