Cardiff University Students Tackle ‘Fake News’
22 October 2019
This summer, the CSRI hosted a number of students keen to explore the spread of ‘fake news’ across Europe. Using the academic expertise and social media data available, the students designed and conducted their own research projects over a period of eight-weeks.
Each student used their unique interests, knowledge and skills to contribute to the Institutes’ understanding of online disinformation. Particularly valuable was the range of language skills that the students brought to data collected in other European languages.
The cohort supported the Institute’s aim to bring together different academic disciplines for problem-solving research, with three social science undergraduate placements and three computer science students in postgraduate placements.
The CUROP students undertook projects looking at online disinformation associated with elections in Lithuania, anti-immigration narratives promoted by the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) and opposing political parties in Spain. These were complemented by computer science projects that used a computational, machine-learning, approach to the CSRI’s large data set. The fresh perspectives brought by the projects have shed new light on trends and patterns in both the content and volume of fake news vocabulary circulating online in Europe.
“The placement experience has provided me with context on how research methods are being used in a real world practical experience. It has given me a clearer direction of what field I want to go into after my time at University, and how I can enhance the skills I am learning to get there.”
- Annie Pickup, BSc Social Analytics Student
“My time at the CSRI has deepened my understanding of natural language processing and has exposed me to neurological models I have never used before. Although I chose the project purely on interest, it has opened my mind to working in research and pursuing a career more in line with the work I have undertaken here.”
- David Tuxworth, MSc Computing Student