Policy and Internet, the first major peer-reviewed multi-disciplinary journal investigating the impact of the Internet on public policy, is inviting submissions for a special issue on “fake news” to be published in September 2018. The paper submission deadline is 31 October 2017.

Outline

The relevance of ‘fake news’ as it concerns platforms, data, and politics is rising across the internet-related disciplines. Before solutions are further engaged with, however, we feel that a special call is warranted to assemble a collection of cross-disciplinary research to better frame the underlying problems. This special issue seeks to explore key factors (e.g., design choices, data practices, or other policy/regulatory factors) that increase the susceptibility of modern information environments to dis/misinformation, external manipulation, and artificial discourse shaping.

Research involving politics, society, and ethics that clarifies the factors underpinning ‘fake news’ can help to shape the future regulation of political campaigns, information privacy, and strengthen the democratic function of the Fourth Estate, while reinforcing meaningful public discourse in a globalised digital world.

With that goal in mind, this special issue seeks to publish a collection of innovative cross-disciplinary work that will shed light on the social, technological, economic and political factors that enable or encourage the creation, circulation and consumption of fake news : 1) the role of platforms and their architectures and interfaces; 2) the role of data collection and data use for influence operations; and 3) the role and regulation of ‘artificial amplification’ and automated systems.

Areas of Interest

Research is invited from across the social, cultural, and information science disciplines, as well as from the digital humanities and any other relevant disciplines. Given the focus of this journal, all submissions should have clear policy relevance, and would ideally make clear the policy implications of the research presented.

Work aligning with one or more of the following areas is invited for consideration:

Architectures and Interfaces

  • Designs and technologies that increase the susceptibility of information environments to ‘fake news’
  • The role of measurement systems and social ‘attention metrics’
  • Economic incentives related to content delivery and recommendation

Data in Influence Operations

  • Strategic applications of data for behavioral (re)targeting and influencing
  • Assessing success: the use of data in impact evaluation methodologies
  • The future of data collection: scenarios for protection and cross-jurisdictional enforcement issues

Automation and Regulation

  • Degrees of automation: classification and impact of ’bots’ and non-human actors
  • Processes of amplification in coordinated influence campaigns
  • Policy scenarios under different regulatory environments and geopolitical contexts

If you have any questions about the fit of an article for the issue, please contact the Guest Editors at: j.albright@columbia.edu

Paper Submissions

Authors are invited to submit full papers of between 6-8,000 words though the journal’s online submission form by 31st October 2017. Submissions will be double-blind peer-reviewed by three reviewers. We recommend that submitting authors refer to our publication guidelines before submission. Any queries about the submission process should be directed to the journal’s managing editor: david.sutcliffe@oii.ox.ac.uk

About the Guest Editors

Jonathan Albright is the Research Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University and a Faculty Associate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Previously an assistant professor of media analytics in the school of communication at Elon University, his work focuses on the analysis of socially-mediated news events, misinformation/propaganda, and trending topics, applying a mixed-methods, investigative data-driven storytelling approach. He is a co-author of Pew Internet’s recent report, “The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online,” and has undertaken an extensive investigation uncovering and mapping the emergent news ecosystem.

Hugo Zylberberg is a Cyber Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs as well as member of the Chair on Values and Policies of Personal Data at Institut Mines-Télécom and the Castex Chair of Cyber Strategy in Paris. His topics of interest include the geopolitics of cyberspace and the digital transformation of society from a technical, economic and social perspective. His current work focuses on data protection and internet fragmentation.