Facebook fallout: U-M experts available

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University of Michigan experts can comment on the latest Facebook news about the social media company’s handling of Russian election meddling and its ties to a GOP-opposition firm.

Cliff Lampe, professor and member in the Center for Social Media Responsibility at the U-M School of Information, researches social and technical structures of large-scale technology mediated communication, working with sites like Facebook, Wikipedia, Slashdot and Everything2. Specifically, he focuses on human social interaction that is mediated by technology, looking at social media and interpersonal relationships, online communities and civic technologies. He recently addressed Facebook’s battle against fake news.

“The value of journalism like this is that it takes a complex set of events and constructs a well-supported narrative to describe the process,” he said. “While nothing in the (New York Times) article is surprising to those observing Facebook for the past few years, it’s always good to be reminded of the multiple pressures publicly traded companies face. One area where I wish the article had been able to do more is addressing what Facebook has done to combat the problem over the past years.

“According to our Iffy Quotient, Facebook has severely cut the amount of disinformation being shared on their platform. It would serve the public interest to learn more about how they’ve had successes in solving the actual problem of bad actors purposely spreading divisive information.”

Contact: 517-515-2494, [email protected]

Brendan Nyhan, professor of public policy and faculty associate in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research, researches misperceptions about politics and health care. He has commented about fake news and Facebook in the past.

Contact: 919-452-6451, [email protected]

Erik Gordon, clinical assistant professor at the Ross School of Business, focuses on entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, venture capital, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and the biomedical industry.

“It dents (Facebook COO Sheryl) Sandberg’s credibility and reputation, and it destroys the company’s claims that it is doing all it can to remedy previously revealed mistakes,” he said. “Facebook should expect advertiser defections and harsh, bipartisan regulation.”

Contact: 734-764-5274, [email protected]

Will Potter is a lecturer of English language and literature and senior academic innovation fellow in digital storytelling in the Office of Academic Innovation. An expert on fake news, he is a professional investigative journalist and author whose work focuses on how individuals and institutions respond to threats to democracy. His writing and opinions have appeared in the Washington Post, CNN, National Geographic, Le Monde, Sydney Morning Herald, VICE and Rolling Stone.

Contact: 734-764-7718, [email protected]