Center for an Informed Public postdoctoral fellow Rachel Moran and University of Washington Information School PhD student Sarah Nguyễn recently received funding from the Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics (IDDP) at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. for a new project, tentatively titled “Sending News Back Home: Analyzing the Spread of Misinformation between Vietnam and Diasporic Communities in the 2020 Election,” which will explore the spread of misinformation in Vietnamese-American communities.
Prior research into misinformation has overwhelmingly concentrated on English-speaking communities. As a result misinformation has proliferated, almost unchecked, in non-English contexts and there exists a dearth of understanding of the structure and impact of misinformation in marginalized and immigrant communities. The Sending News Back Home project hopes to better understand how misinformation is proliferated through social media and how it spreads across diasporic communities in the U.S. and between the U.S. and Vietnam. This project is informed by the work of organizations such as VietFactCheck, The Interpreter, and other community organizations working to provide fact-checking and media analysis in Vietnamese and English.
Understanding flows of misinformation and its real-life impact requires deep attention to the ways in which online (mis)information is informed by, and often takes advantage of, the sociocultural histories of marginalized and immigrant communities. In order to properly account for this, this research project seeks feedback and partnerships with researchers, journalists, academics and community organizers working in or interested in this research space. Suggestions and feedback are actively encouraged.
The research project is built around answering the following questions:
- How did media influencers (i.e., those with significant social media followings or associated with Vietnamese news outlets) in Vietnam and diasporic communities in the U.S. spread misinformation across the 2020 election period?
- What misinformation narratives gained significant traction amongst Vietnamese-American communities during the 2020 U.S. elections?
- What impact did Vietnamese-language fact-checking (and other such translation and misinformation mitigation efforts) have on the spread and acceptance of misinformation?
- What is needed to build a sustainable, community-driven information infrastructure to counter misinformation within specific marginalized communities?
In exploring these questions, Moran and Nguyễn hope to provide insights that will benefit a range of stakeholders looking to strengthen online conversations and democratic participation within Vietnamese-American communities.
As this is a public-facing project the researchers welcome any insights or questions and will be producing public updates as the research progresses. You can email the project leads at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is originally written in English and Vietnamese by the Center for an Informed Public.