News WhatsApp Research Awards for Social Science and Misinformation

In Summer 2018, WhatsApp commissioned a competitive set of awards: ‘WhatsApp Research Awards for Social Science and Misinformation’.  Awards were aimed worldwide to fund researchers interested in exploring issues that are related to digital literacy, information processing of problematic content, detection of problematic behaviour, and network effects and virality (e.g. fake news spreading during election campaigns).

Dr. Narisong Huhe (PI) and Dr. Mark Shephard (Co-PI) at GPP applied for this highly subscribed call by integrating advanced network analysis with cutting edge experimental methods.  Their proposal, ‘From Susceptible to Infectious: Probing How WhatsApp Users and Their Networks Coevolve in Misinformation Diffusion,’ was highly praised and their application was successful: 

“WhatsApp is looking forward to working with the research team from The University of Strathclyde. The consequences of misinformation are real and we know this is a long term challenge that requires action from civil society, government, and technology companies. The independent research conducted by The University of Strathclyde will make a meaningful contribution to how we build WhatsApp for the years to come.” - Mrinalini Rao, WhatsApp Research Team.

Dr Narisong Huhe and Dr Mark Shephard presented their findings at:

1) Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 2019 Annual Conference (Sept 2019)

2) Scottish Privacy Forum, University of St. Andrews (Jan 2020)

3) European Political Science Association Annual 2020 Conference for the Political Communication sub-group (June 2020)


The team also supplied their evidence to the House of Lords Democracy and Digital Technology Committee in October 2019. Here, you can find out more about the project.