Country Characteristics, Internet Connectivity and Combating Misinformation: A Network Analysis of Global North-South

Date
2021-01-05
Authors
Seo, Hyunjin
Thorson, Stuart
Blomberg, Matthew
Appling, Scott
Bras, Andrea
Davis-Roberts, Avery
Altschwager, Darcey
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Abstract
Analyzing data on 152 countries using network and regression analyses, this study examined how countries’ positions in the global Internet network are associated with their political, economic, and technological characteristics, and how those characteristics are related to media, information, and digital (MID) education programs in the countries. This research shows countries with higher levels of international Internet bandwidth capacity, Internet use, and press freedom status are more likely to have MID programs that are comprehensive. Differences between Global North and Global South countries were significant both in terms of Internet capacity and use and in terms of MID complexity and dimensions. MID literacy education is an important long-term solution to misinformation, as such education informs people’s epistemological beliefs which in turn have direct effects on their comprehension of various issues and topics. This study offers important scholarly and policy implications in the areas of digital connectivity, MID literacies, misinformation, and international communication. In particular, it offers guidance for comparative studies in this area.
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Network Analysis of Digital and Social Media, digital literacy, information literacy, internet, misinformation, network analysis
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