CS492/692 - Spring 2020 - Assignment 4

Understanding and Addressing Digital Misinformation


The purpose of this assignment is to have students learn more about the problem of online digital misinformation, the social implications that have arisen from its introduction and the expectations for the future.

For this assignment you will be working in groups of 5 (with groups being formed by the instructor and the TAs, in an effort to balance the talents of the students of the class). You will be asked to produce a report which covers the following: i) clarify what kinds of online digital misinformation you are choosing to focus on in your essay; provide brief descriptions with examples or illustrations and explain how it is that the Internet allows this misinformation to exist ii) describe negative impacts that have occurred due to the misinformation and clarify who has been most affected iii) provide recommendations for government and industry that might help to reduce these negative impacts iv) if technology can play a role in providing improvements, explain the kinds of technologies that can be used and how they might help v) provide a conclusion, clarifying as well what individuals can do in the meantime, before your proposed steps forward are taken.

The assignment is due on Thursday Jul 2 at 10am and is worth 10 marks. It should be on the order of 2500 words. (Some kind of introduction should be included, in addition to the coverage of the five core subtopics listed above).


Digital misinformation is upon us already and while some computer scientists, governments and tech organizations have begun to imagine how to address this social problem, a deeper understanding of the origins, obtained by groups of young computer scientists such as you, may lead to novel, creative ideas for what can be done in the future, and reveal greater insights into what we should all be prepared for, as the problem continues to increase, unchecked.

The focus for this assignment is on open-ended thinking, guided by current articles on the topic. There is no right or wrong answer. Students are urged to be creative and constructive in their recommendations.