Conspiracy Theories, Extremism, and TikTok: A Conversation with a Disinformation Researcher

11/30/2021 - 1:00pm

Grade levels: Professional Development, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Content areas: Digital Learning, Library and Media, Professional Development

Topics: digital literacy

District/Organization: edWeb

From QAnon to pandemic-related beliefs, conspiracy theories are increasingly part of mainstream discourse and public awareness. Many conspiracy theories take hold via social media such as TikTok, Facebook and Twitter, posing a particular threat to young users who can easily fall down rabbit holes and even get drawn into extremist ideologies. However, social media also hosts a number of influencers and resources devoted to combatting misinformation and disinformation, including the popular @tofology TikTok channel created by TikTok disinformation researcher Abbie Richards.

In this edWebinar with Peter Adams, the senior vice president of the News Literacy Project, and Abbie Richards, attendees will learn how to recognize conspiratorial thinking patterns and pitfalls and common strategies employed online by conspiracy theory adherents. They will also explore the connection between conspiratorial beliefs and extremist ideologies. Attendees will gain an understanding of the stakes posed by conspiracy theories and receive guidance on effective educational resources related to this topic, including Abbie’s popular conspiracy theories chart.

This edWebinar will be of interest to teachers, librarians, and school and district leaders of the middle school, high school, and higher education levels. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask Peter and Abbie questions about conspiracy theories, social media and best practices in teaching about this challenging topic.