Indiana University researchers launch tool to understand spread of fake news

On Dec. 15, IU Communications learned that Fil Menczer, a professor in the IU School of Informatics and Computing who is regarded as an international authority on how information spreads online, would launch a new interactive online tool called “Hoaxy” designed to track the spread of “fake news” across social media, with a particular focus on Twitter.

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Although fake news had become a major topic in the news in the run-up to the 2016 Election, Menczer and colleagues’ work on the Hoaxy began much earlier, with the first academic paper describing the project appearing online in April 2016 following presentation of the work-in-progress during an academic conference in Montreal, Canada. (The online magazine Inverse later dubbed Menczer “the man who saw fake news coming.”)

In advance of the launch of the new website, a select number of reporters who had previously expressed interest in the project were tipped off about the site. A news release on Hoaxy was then sent out from IU at 10:15 a.m. on Dec. 21, coinciding with the official launch date of the site.

Media coverage of Hoaxy appeared in the following outlets:

The news also attracted significant international coverage, including:

In addition, the study was widely shared on social media, including tweets from Germany’s Max Planck Society and NSF Science 360,  a news site managed by the National Science Foundation.

A Dec. 28, 2016, a Daily Mail story on Facebook’s efforts to curtail the spread of fake news on the platform also made reference to Hoaxy.

Research explains why some presents are great to give but not to receive

Elanor WilliamsOn Dec. 8, the IU News and Media Team distributed the news release, “Research explains why some presents are great to give but not to receive,” about research by Elanor Williams, an assistant professor of marketing in the IU Kelley School of Business.

The release directly resulted in an article by the Washington Post, “There’s one big mistake everybody makes when giving a gift.

The article subsequently was distributed nationally and has been picked up by newspapers. They include the Middletown Times Herald-Record in Westchester, NY.

Other coverage included:

IU President McRobbie leading delegation to Korea and China

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IU President Michael A. McRobbie

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie left Dec. 2 for South Korea and China, leading a university delegation charged with strengthening IU’s connections with partner universities, governmental leaders and alumni. A news release was distributed. Subsequent and associated news coverage included:

Pre-trip:

Post-trip:

IU retail expert sees parallels between recent election and holiday shopping picture

John Talbott

John Talbott

On Nov. 21, prior to the traditional Black Friday, IU Communications prepared and issued the news release, “IU retail expert sees parallels between recent election and holiday shopping picture,” and followed it up with media pitches. The release focused on research and expertise of John Talbott, associate director of the Center for Education and Research in Retailing in the IU Kelley School of Business. Media coverage included:

Indiana University Kelley School of Business panel presents somber economic forecast for 2017

On Nov. 3, IU Communications prepared and issued a news release, “Indiana University Kelley School of Business panel presents somber economic forecast for 2017,” in conjunction with an event that morning. As a result of advance pitching beginning in October and followup efforts, the forecast received statewide media coverage, which included:

 

Worked to death? IU study says lack of control over high-stress jobs can lead to early grave

5eg3zs76cy_actualOn Oct. 17, the IU News and Media Team issued a news release about research by Kelley School professor Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, “Worked to death? IU study says lack of control over high-stress jobs can lead to early grave.” The research was picked up by Futurity, which exposed it to a new group of media in November. Here’s a broad, representative summary of some of the resulting coverage:

Gonzalez-Mulé also did interviews with CJAD Radio in Montreal, Canada; Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Bottom Line/Health.

‘Cyclops’ beetles hint at solution to ‘chicken-and-egg’ problem in novel trait evolution

Cyclops beetlesOn Aug. 22, IU Communications put out a news release on two studies from the lab of IU Professor of Biology Armin Moczek.

The papers, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B and the Journal of Experimental Society Psychology, concerned research on beetles in the genus Onthophagus. By examining the relationship between the head structures in larval versus adult versions of these insects, the studies provided important new insights on how “old” genes can give rise to new traits.

The research also produced beetles with a striking physical feature: an extra “cyclops” eye in the center of the head.

Coverage of the study ran in the following outlets:

The release was also submitted and accepted in Futurity, a daily news roundup of university science news.

Organizations to the share the story on social media included the National Science Foundation and Newswise.