Pakistani Researchers from LUMS wins Facebook misinformation project

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Facebook announced Agha Ali Raza and Ihsan Ayyub Qazi from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) among winners of Facebook’s Foundation Integrity Research that highlights the problem of misinformation and polarisation that the company faces.

Raza and Qazi’s research tackles the challenges by measuring the role of prior beliefs and analytical reasoning, and how this impacts the beliefs of internet users.

At the end of February, Facebook Research asked academic institutions or non-governmental organisations from all over the world to send in their proposals.

“Our goal is to support independent research that will contribute to the understanding of these phenomena and, in the long term, help us improve our policies, interventions, and tooling,” said Alex Leavitt, Senior Researcher at Facebook.

Making Pakistan proud, Agha Ali Raza and Ihsan Ayyub Qazi from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) were amongst the global list of winners, whose proposal outshined during the competitive selection process.

Raza and Qazi also designed an educational intervention that uses influential public figures to spread awareness about misinformation in order to reduce polarisation.

“We are thrilled to have our research been awarded the grant by Facebook which would serve as a stepping stone for us to take our project forward. Through our research, we aim to understand how non-textual misinformation (e.g. deepfakes) is perceived by internet users with low digital literacy and the role of pre-conceived notions and analytical reasoning in shaping the beliefs of such users. We are hopeful that by the completion of this project, we will be able to make a substantial contribution towards combating the circulation of false and unverified information on the internet,” stated the winning duo.