“Why We Believe: Disinformation, Misinformation, and Neuroscience” is the title of a paper written by DKI APCSS professor Dr. Ethan Allen for Security Nexus. This article states how disinformation, particularly in social media, may have devastating effects during crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Critically, the algorithms that underlie social media platforms exacerbate the different realities that we each see. Social media sites are designed to track what their users each individually see, click on, and listen to, and then to provide them with more information of a similar nature; this is their core, and the basis on which they create profit.  By the way in which they were designed, these algorithms thus tend to create ‘bubbles’ around people, wherein they see and hear only information similar to that which they earlier viewed or listened to, and to close off opposing viewpoints (cf., confirmation bias, noted above). This perpetuates a vicious circle of individuals receiving ‘news’ from an ever-narrowing, and ever-more-extreme set of sources.

Dr. Allen is a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. The views expressed in this article are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the DKI APCSS or the United States Government.

Security Nexus is a peer-reviewed, online journal published by the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.