Click Here for an Easy A: Social Media Manipulation 101


New course in Fall 2022!

MW, 4:45 – 6 PM, Fine Arts (FA) 015

Disinformation. Fake news. Social bots. Echo chambers. Astroturf. Troll factories. Conspiracy theories. We got our fill during recent elections and with COVID. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows how misinformation on social media is exploited during wartime.

Are you curious about...

  • How lies spread on social media and why people believe them?
  • What makes technology vulnerable to manipulation?
  • How algorithms affect what you see?
  • How to stay ahead of biases, bots, and trolls?
  • How media literacy can help you navigate the modern information ecosystem?

Sign up for this exciting new course taught by a team of professors at the Observatory on Social Media, a leading research center that unites data scientists and journalists from the Media School and the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. The Observatory studies the role of media and technology in society, and builds tools to analyze and counter disinformation and manipulation on social media. No prior knowledge is assumed or required for the course.

Students from all IUB majors are welcome! Here is how to enroll:

  • If you are a Media student, enroll in MSCH-C 201 (class # 33058): Click here for an easy A: Social Media Manipulation 101
  • If you are a Luddy student, enroll in INFO-T 100 (class # 33868): Topics in Informatics Technology: Social Media Manipulation 101
  • If you are an HLS student, enroll in SGIS-S 200 (class # 35751): Topics in Diplomatic Practice: Social Media Manipulation 101
  • All other students can enroll in either INFO-T 100 (class # 33868) or MSCH-C 201 (class # 33058)

Advisors: feel free to download course flyers for print or screen!

Weekly topics will include:

  • A short history of lying: propaganda, snake oil, and conspiracy theories
  • What changed when misinformation went from analog to digital
  • The varieties of digital misinformation
  • How our brains make us vulnerable to misinformation
  • The content of social media misinformation, including climate change, health, and elections
  • How viral news, engagement, echo chambers, and other social media mechanisms promote disinformation
  • The role and biases of ranking and recommendation algorithms
  • Social media abuse: bots, astroturf, flooding, trolls, deepfakes, and more
  • How to collect and analyze social media data
  • How to slow the spread of false and misleading information
  • What’s coming in the future: AI, regulation, ethics, and the "metaverse"

Class format and grading:

  • 3 credit hours
  • Interactive lectures supported by study guides
  • Weekly 10-question quizzes based on previous class content
  • Final exam
  • Everyone gets an A1

1. Keep in mind, this is a course on disinformation