Using the Life Cycle of Media Manipulation, each case study features a chronological description of a media manipulation event, which is filtered along specific variables such as tactics, targets, mitigation, outcomes, and keywords.
David Greene, who lost his medical license after botched surgeries resulted in several deaths, sells unproven—and sometimes dangerous—medical treatments using stem cells. While certain stem cell therapies are effective treatments for a limited list of diseases, Greene persuades customers that the stem cell therapy he sells, using cord blood and amniotic tissues, is a near cure-all. Investigation into his marketing strategies shows that Greene is profiting off a business model that is based on phony science while laundering his online reputation to keep the patients—and their money—coming in.
After military conflict broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in November, 2020, two contesting narratives designed to influence international understanding of the conflict emerged, playing out largely on Twitter. Based on several months of data collection and mixed methods research, we trace the tactics of the two key online communities participating in these outward-facing advocacy campaigns: the Ethiopian government and its supporters, and Tigrayan activists and their supporters.
Since the 1970s, before there was an internet to spread disinformation, activists in the anti-abortion movement have promoted the falsehood that there is a link between breast cancer and abortion. There is no link, but this scare tactic has had enormous staying power, and the internet has provided a networked terrain for it to spread even farther.