Beyond Fake News: Mitigating Epistemically Toxic Content – An International Online Workshop

April 21, 2021 - April 22, 2021

This event is online


  • Zefat Academic College

Selected speakers:

Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Technische Universität Berlin
University of Utah
Michigan State University


University of Haifa
Zefat Academic College

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In 2016, “fake news” took ‎center stage as a contributor to surprising political events. Reluctant to do so at first, Facebook and Twitter have since taken steps to fight dubious posts, and have drawn on independent fact ‎checkers to validate and flag stories that are reported as fake by users. Misinformation spreaders have not rested on their laurels either. They have started creating deepfakes, namely, artificial realistic faces and ‎videos that make ‎it appear as if people said or did something they didn’t, and artificial intelligence-generated images to create seemingly real ‎profile pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to lend the users an air of credibility. At the same time, individuals are regularly posting and sharing misinformation and disinformation without any apparent help or encouragement from malign actors, often without malevolent intent. ‎

The category of “epistemically toxic content,” of content that is false, unsubstantiated or misleading is wider than that of fake news. Much epistemically toxic content is situated in the gray area between absolute truth and utter falsehood.Epistemically toxic content, its types and manifestations, the mechanisms of its spreads, and effective ways to fight it are still only partially ‎understood by academic researchers. And many suggested solutions to the problem are problematic. Tasking Internet mega corporations with filtering content for truth and falsehood may prove as a cure that is worse than the disease. States do not have a good track record regulating ‎free flow of politically inconvenient information either.

The workshop aims at advancing the study of epistemically toxic content online and ways to mitigate its spread, by bringing together philosophers and researchers in other relevant disciplines, including cognitive science, communications and media studies, Science and Technology Studies, and information systems. The workshop is part of the ISF funded project “Skepticism about Testimony.”

We welcome submissions by academic researchers in philosophy, cognitive science, communications and media studies, Science and Technology Studies, information systems, and related disciplines, who study different theoretical and empirical aspects of epistemically toxic content. Submissions from early-career scholars and members of underrepresented groups in academia are especially welcome. Please send abstract of about 300 words to [email protected] by March 3, 2021. Please include your name, email, and institutional affiliation. Accepted scholars are expected to give an approximately 20-minute talk followed by a Q&A session. Presenting scholars are requested to participate in the workshop throughout its duration.

April 21-22, 2021: online workshop. The workshop is scheduled to take place each day after 3pm GMT.

Please send any questions to [email protected].  

Participation in the workshop is free. To receive a participation link, please pre-register at by April 19, 2021.(Please use this link and not the RSVP function on the right).

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April 19, 2021, 11:45pm IST

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Who is attending?

7 people are attending:

Nottingham University
University of Haifa
and 5 more.

1 person may be attending:

Universität Hannover

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Custom tags:

#social epistemology, #misinformation, #testimony, #fake news