A Crisis of Disinformation

The COVID-19 crisis has created an urgent need to help counter a surge in misinformation and attempts to exploit the pandemic through disinformation. Jennifer Kavanagh and Todd Helmus discuss the pandemic’s effect on public trust in important sources of information and institutions that provide information. They describe how RAND is working to not only combat disinformation and misinformation during the COVID-19 crisis, but also to counter Truth Decay—the diminishing role of facts and analysis in public life.

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  • A novel coronavirus illustration

    COVID-19 Pandemic: Insights from RAND

    Apr 10, 2020

    RAND research and expertise can inform immediate policy responses to address the disastrous effects of COVID-19—and help aid in recovery long after the disease stops spreading.

  • A crowd of people surrounding images representing the news, design by Alyson Youngblood/RAND

    What Americans Think of the News—and What That Means for Democracy

    Apr 28, 2020

    RAND researchers asked a nationally representative sample of adults about their news-consumption habits. The answers reveal clues about what it might take to address Truth Decay—the decline of facts in U.S. public life.

  • U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer meet with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to wrap up work on coronavirus economic aid legislation, Washington, D.C., March 20, 2020, photo by Mary F. Calvert/Reuters

    The Economic Wallop of COVID-19: Q&A with RAND Experts

    Mar 26, 2020

    As Washington continues to weigh economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are insights from RAND experts on how aid money might be best allocated, how this crisis compares to the 2008 recession, what business communities can do right now, and more.

  • A man wearing a face mask looks at his phone at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, March 12, 2020, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Truth Decay in the Coronavirus Moment: Q&A with Jennifer Kavanagh

    Mar 17, 2020

    Jennifer Kavanagh, who wrote the RAND book Truth Decay about the diminishing role that facts play in making important public policy decisions, calls the unfolding situation with the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 a worst-case scenario.

  • Woman using smartphone

    What's Being Done to Fight Disinformation Online

    Nov 12, 2019

    With the rise of the internet and social media, false or intentionally misleading information can spread further and faster than ever before. What tools exist to fight disinformation online?