The Hype Machine: How social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health - and How We Must Adapt (Book Talk)


September 24, 2020 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Join Pitt Business ISTM, CMU Tepper BT, and CMU Heinz IS for a seminar with speaker Sinan Aral, David Austin Professor of Management at MIT Sloan School

Register for this event via Zoom

In "The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health--and How We Must Adapt" (on-sale September 15), Sinan Aral, director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) helps us take stock of social media’s ascendance and provides clear-eyed prescriptions for how we can protect ourselves and democracy from fake news deception and social media manipulation.

Aral advances the narrative about social media from the early days of techno-optimism to the backlash against big tech to our current phase of grappling with how to master its power instead of letting it master us. In a book that will define the relationship between society and social media, Aral explores:

  • What we know about election interference in 2016 and the new strategies Russia, China, and Iran are employing in 2020.
  • The spread and impact of coronavirus misinformation worldwide and IDE’s work with WHO on COVIDConnect, a fact-checking WhatsApp channel.
  • The nuts and bolts of how fake news works and how cascades of misinformation move through the world.
  • The steps we—as individuals, policymakers, or business owners—must take to thwart election influencers and prevent the spread of fake news.
  • What social media companies can do to stop fake news on their platforms and whether breaking up Facebook and others will help or make the problem worse.  
  • What neuroscience tells us about why we are so susceptible to fake news and how we can break the cycle.

Brimming with fresh research, The Hype Machine shows us that fake news is not inevitable—it has patterns and processes that can be disrupted if we learn how. 

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