What are political parties’ platforms – and do they matter?

Political parties’ platforms – their statements of where they stand on issues – get little respect. President Donald Trump mused recently that he might shrink his party’s platform from 66 pages in 2016 to a single page in 2020. Even as far back as 1996, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole claimed he had never read his party’s platform. Nor do Democratic Party platforms – such as the draft released July 22 – usually make the best-seller list.

Twitter hack exposes broader threat to democracy and society

In case 2020 wasn’t dystopian enough, hackers on July 15 hijacked the Twitter accounts of former President Barack Obama, presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian and Apple, among others. Each hijacked account posted a similar fake message. The high-profile individual or company wanted to philanthropically give back to the community during COVID-19 and would double any donations made to a bitcoin wallet, identical messages said. The donations followed.
The hack on the surface may appear to be a run-of-the-mill financial scam. But the breach has chilling implications for democracy.

Disinformation campaigns are murky blends of truth, lies and sincere beliefs – lessons from the pandemic

As a researcher who studies how communications technologies are used during crises, I’ve found that this mix of information types makes it difficult for people, including those who build and run online platforms, to distinguish an organic rumor from an organized disinformation campaign. And this challenge is not getting any easier as efforts to understand and respond to COVID-19 get caught up in the political machinations of this year’s presidential election.

10 Cozy COVID-friendly fall activities

Obviously, fall is going to look a little different this year with COVID-19 still looming large across the U.S. However, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to sacrifice your favorite fall activities. So, here are ten fall activities to indulge in that are fun and safe. If you’re a self-proclaimed connoisseur of all things cozy and autumnal during this magical season, this list is for you.

Biases in algorithms hurt those looking for information on health

Several public health agencies, such as state health departments, have invested resources in YouTube as a channel for health communication. Patients with chronic health conditions especially rely on social media, including YouTube videos, to learn more about how to manage their conditions.
But video recommendations on such sites could exacerbate preexisting disparities in health.