Headline RoundupJune 16th, 2024

Stanford Misinformation Research Center to Close Amid Political and Legal Pressure

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Stanford Internet Observatory, a misinformation research center, is effectively shutting down after political pressure and ongoing lawsuits have made it difficult to keep operating.

The Details: The group researched several issues discussed widely online, most notably election and vaccine misinformation, and jointly operated the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) with the University of Washington. The Supreme Court will soon rule on a case known as Missouri v. Biden that includes claims against the Observatory.

For Context: The group has been a longtime target of Republican lawmakers. In November, a report released by the House Judiciary Committee and its Weaponization Select Subcommittee found the EIP worked with federal agents and social media companies to censor speech in the lead-up to the 2020 election. In response to ongoing suits, Stanford has defended the group’s rights to share its findings, including with government entities.

Liberal Media Coverage: The Washington Post (Lean Left bias) led by saying the Observatory “published some of the most influential analysis of the spread of false information on social media during elections.” The Verge (Lean Left bias) largely centered its coverage around conservative claims against the group. Neither mentioned the House Judiciary Committee’s report.

Conservative Media Coverage: The National Review (Lean Right bias) referred to the Observatory as studying “so-called online misinformation” and framed its coverage through the House Judiciary Committee’s report.

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