[Air-L] CFA: Beyond Fake News: Mitigating Epistemically Toxic Content – An International Online Workshop

Aviv Barnoy avivbarnoy at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 11:13:58 PST 2021

*CFA: Beyond Fake News: Mitigating Epistemically Toxic Content – An
International Online Workshop (University of Haifa/Zefat Academic College)*

In 2016, “fake news” took ‎center stage as a contributor to surprising
political events. Reluctant to do so at first, Facebook and Twitter have
since taken steps to fight dubious posts, and have drawn on independent
fact ‎checkers to validate and flag stories that are reported as fake by
users. Misinformation spreaders have not rested on their laurels either.
They have started creating deepfakes, namely, artificial realistic faces
and ‎videos that make ‎it appear as if people said or did something they
didn’t, and artificial intelligence-generated images to create seemingly
real ‎profile pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to lend the users
an air of credibility. At the same time, individuals are regularly posting
and sharing misinformation and disinformation without any apparent help or
encouragement from malign actors, often without malevolent intent. ‎

The category of “epistemically toxic content,” of content that is false,
unsubstantiated or misleading is wider than that of fake news. Much
epistemically toxic content is situated in the gray area between absolute
truth and utter falsehood. Epistemically toxic content, its types and
manifestations, the mechanisms of its spreads, and effective ways to fight
it are still only partially ‎understood by academic researchers. And many
suggested solutions to the problem are problematic. Tasking Internet mega
corporations with filtering content for truth and falsehood may prove as a
cure that is worse than the disease. States do not have a good track record
regulating ‎free flow of politically inconvenient information either.

The workshop aims at advancing the study of epistemically toxic content
online and ways to mitigate its spread, by bringing together philosophers
and researchers in other relevant disciplines, including cognitive science,
communications and media studies, Science and Technology Studies, and
information systems. The workshop is part of the ISF funded project
“Skepticism about Testimony,” and is organized by Arnon Keren
of Haifa), Boaz Miller <https://boazmiller.com/> (Zefat Academic College),
and Aviv Barnoy
<https://scholar.google.co.il/citations?user=D44dirIAAAAJ> (University
of Haifa and Zefat Academic College). Confirmed participants include:

Sacha Altay <https://sites.google.com/view/sacha-altay/home>, Institut Jean

Anat Ben David,
<https://www.openu.ac.il/en/personalsites/AnatBenDavid.aspx> The
Open University of Israel

Sarit Barzilai <https://sarit-barzilai.edu.haifa.ac.il/>, The University of

Karen Frost-Arnold
Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Axel Gelfert <http://www.gelfert.net/People/Axel/axel.html>, The Technical
University of Berlin

Thi Nguyen <https://objectionable.net/>, University of Utah

Isaac Record <http://www.isaacrecord.net/>, Michigan State University

Richard Rogers
<https://www.uva.nl/en/profile/r/o/r.a.rogers/r.a.rogers.html>, University
of Amsterdam

We welcome submissions by academic researchers in philosophy, cognitive
science, communications and media studies, Science and Technology Studies,
information systems, and related disciplines, who study different
theoretical and empirical aspects of epistemically toxic content.
Submissions from early-career scholars and members of underrepresented
groups in academia are especially welcome. Please send abstract of about
300 words to epistemictc at gmail.com by March 3, 2021. Please include your
name, email, and institutional affiliation. Accepted scholars are expected
to give an approximately 20-minute talk followed by a Q&A session.
Presenting scholars are requested to participate in the workshop throughout
its duration.

Important dates:

March 3, 2021: deadline for abstract submission.

March 10, 2021: notification of acceptance.

April 21-22, 2021: online workshop. The workshop is scheduled to take place
each day after 3pm GMT.

Please send any questions to epistemictc at gmail.com.

Event webpage: https://philevents.org/event/show/87330

Aviv Barnoy, PhD
Research Fellow, Department of Community Information Systems,
Zefat Academic College & Department of Philosophy, University of Haifa
M: +972528748969

*Check out my latest publications <http://avivbarnoy.com>:*
The Visual Boundaries of Journalism: Native advertising and the convergence
of editorial and commercial content
<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21670811.2020.1836980> (Digital
Journalism) / Trusting Others: A Pareto distribution of source and message
credibility among news reporters
<https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0093650220911814> (Communication
Research) / How News Become “News” in Increasingly Complex Ecosystems
<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1461670X.2020.1716830> (Journalism
studies) / The When, Why, How and So-what of Verifications
<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1461670X.2019.1593881> (Journalism


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