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Francesca Tripodi talks with The Well about navigating the complex information ecosystem

Francesca Tripodi, Assistant Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), was recently featured by Carolina’s online publication The Well in an article about “How to improve your media literacy skills.”

Francesca Tripodi, an associate professor in the School of Information and Library Science, poses for a portrait in front of Manning Hall on May 25, 2021, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (CITAP) at UNC.
Francesca Tripodi in front of Manning Hall. Photo by Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill

Tripodi explains how authors of misinformation and disinformation exploit algorithmic loopholes to bring their problematic content to the top of search results, and offers advice on how people can shape their online queries to retrieve more reliable information.

“Our keywords matter,” Tripodi says in the article. “The kinds of keywords that we query is a part of media literacy that we’re not paying enough attention to.”

Tripodi was also interviewed by NPR for an segment titled, “Experts Call It A ‘Clown Show’ But Arizona ‘Audit’ Is A Disinformation Blueprint.” Tripodi is quoted in the online story, explaining how using the word “audit” gives the process more credibility.

In addition to her appointment with SILS, Tripodi is a senior faculty researcher with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) and an affiliate at the Data & Society Research Institute. In 2019, she testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on her research, explaining how search processes are gamed to maximize exposure and drive ideologically based queries. This research is the basis of her book, which is under contract with Yale University Press.