Howard University Knight Foundation

An innovative study about politics, misinformation, and democracy

Howard to study Black and Urban Digital Protections and Democratic Knowledge in Washington, D.C.

About

Howard University was awarded a $250,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support new research on how digital manipulation and disinformation on the internet impacts Black communities. The grant is part of a series of investments by the Knight Foundation to support research on the rules, norms, and governance of the internet and social media platforms. Under the leadership of researchers Bahiyyah Muhammad, Ph.D., Roger Caruth, Ph.D., Ravi Perry, Ph.D., Brandon Hogan, Ph.D. and Keesha Middlemass, Ph.D., the research team will investigate how technology and misinformation on social media is used in the digital age to misinform members of the Black community in Washington, D.C. The idea for this research came after reports of continuing Russian interference in U.S. elections and amid the growing spread of misinformation on social media. 

As an interdisciplinary team of scholars and digital informers, we are excited to partner with the Knight Foundation to engage in this innovative study about politics, misinformation, and democracy. We are overjoyed for this opportunity to interact with the Black community in Washington, D.C. as the 2020 election unfolds.”

The funding will focus on engagement with Black and marginalized communities in and around the nation’s capital. This collaborative and interdisciplinary effort hopes to combat misinformation about politics and democracy while safeguarding these communities against cyber manipulation.

“Digital manipulation and voter suppression efforts disproportionately target communities of color and other marginalized groups,” said Sam Gill, Knight’s senior vice president and chief program officer. “We're excited to support Howard University to be on the frontlines of this challenge.”

The Knight Foundation awarded $1.7 million in grants to several institutions, including universities and independent research organizations, to generate conversations about technology, free speech online, and the impact that digital platforms have on democracy. Howard University was one of 20 institutions selected to receive grant funding. The research team will uphold Howard University’s core values of truth and service as it examines social media, disinformation, and politics in Black communities and will propose remedies on how to combat misinformation.

Email: digitaldemocracy@howard.edu
Social Media: Instagram & Twitter @HUDigitalDem  #BLKVOTE, #HUD3

 

Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Instagram

Digital Informers

Roger Caruth

Assistant Professor

Digital Democracy

Brandon Hogan

Associate Professor

Philosophy

Kim Lewis

Associate Dean for Research, Graduate Programs, and Natural Sciences

Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Science

Keesha Middlemass

Associate Professor

Political Science

Bahiyyah Muhammad

Assistant Professor

Sociology & Criminology

Ravi Perry

He/Him/His

Chair

Political Science

Contributing Students


  Desiree Crawford
Desiree Crawford

Undergraduate Student Researcher


  Symirah Graham
Symirah Graham

Undergraduate Student Researcher

 

  Daria Paschall
Daria Paschall

Undergraduate Student Researcher


  Tariq Schinnery
Tariq Schinnery

Undergraduate Student Researcher


  Zion Shoulders
Zion Shoulders

Undergraduate Student Researcher


  Richard Simon
Richard Simon

Undergraduate Student Researcher

News & Information

Latest News: WTOP Reporter talks with Howard U. researchers about "Black voters getting flooded with election disinformation"

Andrea Cambron | @AndreaC_atWTOP

November 2, 2020, 4:08 AM

Black voters are being flooded with targeted disinformation and racialized messages attempting to suppress the vote in the final days of the election, researchers from D.C.’s Howard University said.

The Brookings Institution Governance studies, in partnership with the historically Black university, reviewed how misinformation is disseminated, and what campaigns and elected officials can do to support those communities.

Read Full Article

Latest Virtual Event: Governance Studies at Brookings and Howard University cohosted a webinar focusing on Black voters, disinformation, and digital democracy in 2020

The 2020 election is awash with misinformation, disinformation, and social media manipulation. It is crucial to counter these efforts to ensure a fair contest and public confidence in the election results. This challenge is particularly urgent for Black Americans, who U.S. intelligence officials confirm were targeted by disinformation campaigns in 2016 and are targets again this year. As Election Day nears, what more can be done to ensure Americans receive accurate information about the candidates and the election processes?

 

Join the conversation on Twitter using #DigitalDemocracy

Watch the Webinar Here

Research

Resource Document - 2016 Senate Intelligence Committee

Research Initiative Contributors