Submissions:2019/Navigating the booming and burgeoning credibility landscape: Three perspectives

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2019.


Navigating the booming and burgeoning credibility landscape: Three perspectives


Reliability of Information
+ Tech & Tools

Type of session:



Efforts to counter misinformation and disinformation have increased dramatically over the past five years. The global industry has tripled since 2015, with hundreds of organizations now committed exclusively to bettering online ecosystems. The quest for a true definition of reliable content, and how to achieve it, is complex. Different groups have different ideas about how we should tackle online misinformation. Until now, the contours of this growing world were not well documented.

Meanwhile, increased international attention means that researchers, practitioners and funders in the field of credibility have new opportunities to influence online conversations and shape best practices. The credibility space can influence everything from the way we read newsletters to the way journalists report, to Google search results and our access to health information. This panel presents three different approaches to making sense of the burgeoning, important and previously disorganized credibility landscape.

RAND Corporation researchers worked to identify and characterize a universe of online tools created by nonprofit or civil society organizations that are targeted at solving online disinformation. The project will result in an online database that can be updated as new tools emerge and a report that summarizes trends in the field of online disinformation tools and describes what we know about which tools work best in which contexts.

The Social Science Research Council just launched MediaWell, a new web portal to track and distill the latest academic research on disinformation, online politics, election interference, and emerging collisions between media and democracy. MediaWell is designed to communicate academic findings on topics like credibility, election interference, and mitigating misinformation in an effort to ensure that practitioners have access to the latest research on why audiences trust or distrust content, and how they decide what to share.

Credibility Coalition is a group of journalists, technologists, practitioners and academics that curated and developed a visual database of credibility initiatives in a variety of different solutions categories. CredCatalog prioritizes diversity through representation of global projects and languages, as well as distinctions based on types of focus.

Key takeaways:

1) Learn about the different types of approaches to improving online credibility--From fact checking, to AI tools, to research to policy and regulations--and how can we better understand them.

2) Analysis of common trends and challenges related to visualizing the credibility industry, including product objectivity, information gathering and how to handle self-submissions.

3) Impact beyond the search bars: What do all these projects mean for the quality of the web? Each organization technique has slightly different goals and users - from academics to funders to practitioners in the credibility space.


Jennifer Kavanagh, RAND Jennifer is a senior political scientist and Director of Arroyo’s Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program. Her work focuses on U.S. military interventions, including factors that influence U.S. decisions to intervene and the characteristics that make interventions more or less successful, and U.S. force posture. Outside of her work for the U.S. Army, Jennifer leads RAND’s Countering Truth Decay initiative, a portfolio of projects exploring the diminishing reliance on facts and analysis in U.S. political and civil discourse. Jennifer teaches research methods courses as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Kavanagh graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in government and a minor in Russian language. She earned her Ph.D. in political science and public policy at the University of Michigan.

Sam Spies, SSRC Samuel Spies is program officer in the Media & Democracy program and heads its Disinformation Research Mapping Initiative. He has a PhD in anthropology from Temple University. For his dissertation fieldwork, he studied responses to censorship at online media outlets in Jordan. Before turning to the social sciences, he worked in newspaper, online, and wire-service journalism.

Megan Marrelli, Credibility Coalition (Meedan) Megan is a journalist currently working on a large-scale U.S. election reporting initiative with newsrooms, tech platforms and journalism schools. After graduating from Columbia University in 2017 she worked on the digital breaking news desk of the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. She has also worked on the Netflix show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, where she produced episodes and fact-checked comedy writers. Her work as Program Lead with Credibility Coalition includes overseeing the visualization of CredCatalog, a database of global credibility initiatives, and bridging partnerships between technologists and editors in newsrooms.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Megan Marrelli

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

Credibility Coalition

Estimated time:

30 minutes

Preferred room size:

Special requests:

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