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[ecrea] PhD opportunity (ESRC funding): Social Media Images and Fake News

Mon Mar 20 22:55:42 GMT 2017

*One fully funded ESRC PhD studentship, open to UK and EU applicants. Start date 1^st October 2017. Studentship includes funding for 4 years (1+3) and additional financial support from the project partner. Closing date for applications is _5pm UK time on Friday 31 March_. *

*Project title: *The Role of Social Media Images in Fake News

*Funding: *UK/EU fees and a tax-free maintenance stipend at standard Research Council rate (£14,553 in 2017-18) for up to four years.

The proposed project on the role of social media images in the production of fake news is both interdisciplinary (Media and Communication Studies and Information Science) and collaborative (Claire Wardle at US-based organisation First Draft News <> is the project partner). The rise of social media, combined with advances in technology and global communication, including how news is consumed, has brought many opportunities. Most notably more people are involved in news production: democratising news making in important ways. Simultaneously, challenges arising from these technological developments have also come to light, involving the spread of misinformation and difficulties with verification of news on social media platforms. Fake news, in particular, has become a worldwide problem, most poignantly highlighted in the election of Donald Trump, with many fake news stories apparently circulated to influence the election outcome. A growing international cross-sector community exploring these issues has also emerged, of which First Draft News is a key initiative. It wasformed as a non-profit coalition in 2015 to raise awareness and address challenges relating to trust and truth in the digital age.In September 2016 it launched the First Draft Partner Network, the first of its kind to bring together the largest social platforms with global newsrooms, human rights organizations and other fact-checking and verification projects around the world. This is based on the belief that these challenges can only be tackled via a global collaboration of organizations working together to find solutions. Social media images play a crucial role in the spread of fake news by helping stories appear more believable and more attractive and easy to share. Whilst there is a growing body of work around verification and fake news, the complex role of images has to date been neglected. This PhD project addresses this through an innovative collaboration between the Visual Social Media Lab (the VSML is directed by the principal supervisor) and First Draft News. This project will specifically focus on the role of social media images in the production, circulation and reception of fake news, paying particular attention to understanding how users assess stories and why they choose to share them. There will be access to bespoke training from VSML analytics partner Pulsar and internship and research opportunities within First Draft News throughout the project.

The ideal candidate will have a good undergraduate degree (upper second, or above) in a relevant subject and ideally (but not essential) a good Master’s degree (merit or above). Experience of social media research is desirable but not essential. Experience of visual, qualitative and/or case study methodologies is desirable. A working knowledge of contemporary journalism is desirable but not essential. To apply, please send a CV and a two-page proposal, explaining how you would approach this project. Please send you application to: Dr Farida Vis – (f.vis /at/ <mailto:(f.vis /at/>

For further information, or any queries, please contact one of the supervisors:

  * Dr Farida Vis – (f.vis /at/ <mailto:(f.vis /at/>
  * Professor Paul Clough - (p.d.clough /at/
    <mailto:(p.d.clough /at/>

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