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Information Disorder with Claire Wardle

Information Disorder with Claire Wardle

Update: 2022-02-23


Claire Wardle is a professor at Brown University and the co-founder of First Draft, a non-profit that focuses on misinformation and the tools needed to fight it. She and Elizabeth chat about information disorder, a term Claire helped coin. The term helps us think about issues related to mis- and dis- information as bigger than being about fact or not. Claire explains how it is actually much more important to think about the information environments people find themselves in, how they might be different from other people’s information environments, and how things like emotion and sense of community come into play.  They also talk about the idea of inoculation against mis- and dis-information.

Additional resources:

  • Claire and her colleague Hossein Derakhshan coined the term ‘information disorder’ in this 2017 report where they break down different types, phases and elements of mis- and disinformation.

  • The hypodermic needle theory also comes up, which is an early idea about how media messages affect audiences. This video primer explains what it is (and why it definitely  isn’t accepted anymore).
  • Claire reminds us that humans are hardwired “to be really bad at this stuff” and talks about the role that emotions play in spreading mis- and disinformation. Claire explains the connection in this First Draft video.
  • This article by Linda Monsees looks more closely at the emotional reasons that people share mis/disinformation, and some of the weaknesses of relying only on media literacy as a solution.
  • Elizabeth brings up the idea of inoculation theory as a promising way to deal with mis/disinformation, and Claire introduces the notion of pre-bunking. This First Draft guide explains what pre-bunking is and how it can help fight mis/disinformation.
  • At the end of the show, Claire also brings up algorithmic amplification, which sometimes gets lost in the mix of conspiracy theories and ‘fake news’ – this CJR post includes examples and a bunch of resources to learn more.








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Information Disorder with Claire Wardle

Information Disorder with Claire Wardle