Samantha Kaplan, a PhD candidate at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), recently won the doctoral student research poster competition at the 2018 ALISE Annual Conference. Her poster, “The everyday life and health information practices of a natural immunity advocate," relates to her dissertation research on vaccination behavior and understanding the context in which problematic information is considered more trustworthy than traditionally authoritative sources.
Kaplan addresses the same topic in a chapter for the new book Misinformation and Mass Audiences, published in January by the University of Texas Press. The book is edited by Brian G. Southwell, one of Kaplan’s dissertation advisers, Emily A. Thorson, and SILS alumna Laura Sheble (PhD '14).
In Kaplan’s chapter, titled “Encouraging information search to counteract misinformation: Providing ‘balanced’ information about vaccines,” she summarizes the vaccination controversy and advocates for educating users about collections and systems, rather than focusing on fixing or removing problematic information. She particularly focuses on the filter bubbles that people may be unconsciously encountering when they search online.
“Filter bubbles we traditionally think of as responses to personalized search based on past behavior, but what I try to demonstrate in the chapter is that it’s also based on past behavior of other users,” Kaplan said. “So you could accidentally land in a filter bubble and without being presented counter information, or information about the context of your search queries, you could really come away with a very misinformed view.”
Misinformation and Mass Audiences
University of Texas Press
320 pages, Hardcover