Battelle Partners with Ohio State and Northwestern To Combat COVID-19 ‘Misinformation’

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Battelle announced on Wednesday its new collaborative effort with the Ohio State University and Northwestern University aimed at combating ‘misinformation’ related to COVID-19 by assessing the risk of COVID-19 ‘misinformation’ in near real-time. The effort is sponsored by a $1 million grant from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). 

Katie Liszewski, a cybersecurity engineer, stated that “These tools track the potential of new misinformation spreading through influential groups to the general public and eliminates the need to exhaustively catalog the millions of tweets, posts, and likes generated every day."

“The approach will enable decision-makers and spokespeople to quickly craft public service announcements to counter dangerous misinformation without causing information fatigue,” Liszewski added. 

Previously, attempts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 ‘misinformation’ have been mostly unsuccessful because they were attempts to retroactively correct false narratives. The team’s investigators’ backgrounds include cyber trust and analytics, mathematics, social networks, communication and public policy. 

Erik Nisbet, Owen L. Coon Endowed Professor of Policy Analysis and Communication, said of the team, “There have been many efforts to track and mitigate misinformation, but this initiative is truly unique due to its combination of multiple approaches from network science, social media analytics, and computational linguistics, and an understanding of the psychology behind its spread and influence.”

The first concepts to battle ‘misinformation’ began when COVID-19 was first reported in the U.S. The collaboration was initially internally funded by both Battelle and the Ohio State Office of Research.

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories worldwide, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Since its founding in 1929, Battelle, Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, serves the national security, health and life sciences and energy and environmental industries. 

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