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Media Literacy, Civic Engagement, and Democracy

Library Resources on the Information Ecosystem

The following books, available in the library, help to explain the nature of our current information ecosystem.

Databite Discussion: Digital Technology and Democratic Theory

  • In this episode of a video series by the Data & Society Research Institute, the authors of Digital Society and Democratic Theory discuss their new book. Of special interest is Archon Fung's discussion of the "Public Sphere," a closely related concept to the information ecosystem, and how its structure has changed in the internet age.

Research Organizations

These organizations are doing research into the way our information ecosystem works. 


  • This brief video explains how recommendation algorithms like YouTube's, are designed to encourage users to stay on the platform as long as possible. It explains how this can inadvertently encourage misinformation, and the ways that bad actors can use this system to purposefully spread disinformation.

Digital Architectures

  • In this lecture from the Just Infrastructure speakers series, Dr. J. Nathan Matias discusses the impact of content moderation algorithms on freedom of expression and the spread of misinformation. Like recommendation algorithms, existing content moderation algorithms have been designed by tech companies with profit in mind. Matias discusses what content moderation algorithms designed with an eye toward promoting a healthy democracy

The Misinformation Age

  • Here, Dr. Cailin O'Connor argues that social factors contribute more to the spread and persistence of false beliefs than individual psychology. In other words, people are likely to believe what those in their personal social networks believe, and these social affiliations are better predictors of conspiracy theories and anti-science beliefs than individual intelligence or access to education. She discusses her book in this talk from September of 2019.

More Resources for Understanding our Information Ecosystem