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The Implications of Spreading Disinformation

By Samantha Monterroso |

A new podcast episode of Policy Chats features a discussion with theoretical and evolutionary biologist and professor Carl Bergstrom about the era of "fake news" and how to combat disinformation.

Author of “Calling Bullshit”, Bergstrom teaches at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, and studies a wide range of problems in population biology, animal behavior, and evolutionary theory. He is interested in how norms and institutions govern and shape scientific knowledge. Through the use of mathematical game theory and the statistical theory of signal transmission, Bergstrom focuses his research on the strategic aspects of communication. 

On the topic of why “fake news” seems to be at an all-time high today Bergstrom said, “Over the last few years we have seen increasing weaponization of disinformation. Social networks are very vulnerable to the exponential spread of misinformation, but also to injection of disinformation by parties who want to disinform.”

Kevin Karami, a second-year public policy major who served as co-host for the episode, said, “I think it’s important for everyone to recognize the web of misinformation that exists and how it affects us all. Professor Bergstrom does an amazing job of breaking down the various avenues and methods that are used against people, and his knowledge in the field is on full display when speaking with him.”

Launched in 2020, the UCR School of Public Policy podcast series explores current public policy issues with guests from throughout the policy world. Episodes are accessible via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Anchor. More information is also available through the UCR School of Public Policy podcast page.