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Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft und Medienforschung

How to counter online misinformation and conspiracy theories: Recommendations from scholars and practitioners

For a well-informed citizenry and a healthy democracy, the consequences of misinformation and conspiracy theories can be significant, ranging from an erosion of trust in institutional authorities and political apathy, to intergroup prejudice and societal polarization, to science denial and increased vaccine hesitancy. It is therefore crucial to take effective measures to counter their spread.

Based on a 3-wave Delphi study, Daniela Mahl, Sabrina H. Kessler, and Mike S. Schäfer, in collaboration with Anna Jobin (University of Fribourg, HIIG), Jing Zeng (Utrecht University), and Fanny Georgi (UZH), asked 47 experts—academics and practitioners—from 13 countries and various fields to identify current challenges in responding to online misinformation and conspiracy theories, to predict developments in this area, and to use these findings to develop targeted measures that respond to the challenges.

The recommendations, with a focus on the DACH region, have now been published in a flyer by the Swiss Young Academy (SYA), which also funded this project, and have been discussed by various news outlets, including SRF and linth24.