Stanford misinformation group will proceed regardless of cuts

The Stanford Web Observatory (SIO), one of many largest tutorial teams investigating misinformation, is pledging to proceed its work following a number of studies of it slashing its employees. 

The group lowered its employees to only three workers, in response to a report in The Washington Submit on Friday that cited eight nameless sources. The information was first reported by Platformer, a media group targeted on know-how and democracy.

Stanford College spokesperson Dee Mostofi instructed Inside Increased Ed: “To appropriate the report, the Stanford Web Observatory just isn’t being dismantled.”

The Observatory was based in 2019 as a part of the Stanford Cyber Coverage Middle. In keeping with SIO’s 2022 annual report—its most up-to-date knowledge—the group ballooned to 11 staffers with 356 college students enrolled in SIO programs and almost 40 pupil RAs.

The group additionally served as a analysis powerhouse with a give attention to social media amid rising misinformation: In 2022 alone it printed 15 white paper studies, 10 journal articles and garnered greater than 5,000 media mentions. 

Stanford and its SIO researchers have been named in a number of federal lawsuits final 12 months by conservative-led teams claiming the researchers colluded with the federal government to censor speech.             

In November 2023, SIO founding director Alex Stamos left the group however remained as a lecturer at Stanford. 

Mostofi stated the Observatory will proceed beneath new management, though didn’t say who that might be or if there’s a timeline to fill the function.  

“Stanford stays deeply involved about efforts, together with lawsuits and congressional investigations, that chill freedom of inquiry and undermine authentic and much-needed tutorial analysis—each at Stanford and throughout academia,” Mostofi stated in an announcement. 

Along with its journal articles and course choices, the SIO co-founded the Election Integrity Partnership in 2020, alongside the College of Washington Middle for an Knowledgeable Public. Its objective was to “defend our elections in opposition to those that search to undermine them by exploiting weaknesses within the on-line data setting.” In keeping with the partnership’s web site, its work concluded within the 2022 election cycle and won’t proceed.

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