Co-Designing for Trust is a collaboration between academic and community researchers, librarians, educators, and other partners working to design community-oriented solutions to misinformation. In partnership with Black-led organizations and rural communities, we are creating digital literacy resources that help individuals understand and respond to the ways that misinformation exploits our minds, emotions, and social circumstances. These resources center the knowledge and existing assets of our community partners, to ensure that they provide solutions that can be easily and usefully integrated into the existing approaches that they use to navigate information in their everyday lives.
The Co-Designing for Trust team has been supported through a partnership among researchers at the University of Washington, The University of Texas at Austin, Seattle Central College and the Black Brilliance Research Project and is funded as part of the National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator.
Misinformation refers to factually inaccurate information that is often spread via social media. In some instances it is spread intentionally to achieve a goal, such as to make money or influence political events. In these instances it is often referred to as disinformation. In other cases misinformation is spread unintentionally, by individuals that believe it to be true. In either case, misinformation has become a growing threat to democracy because it compounds political divisions and undermines trust in public information and institutions.
Participatory design means looking at what lived experiences and considerations may teach, not just looking at what theories and peer-reviewed research thinks is important. It can look like mutual capacity building. It can look like curiosity about the experiences and design expertise of people who have not been trained in formal design processes. With mis- and disinformation, it can look like centering the expertise of community members who are actively navigating and helping others navigate mis- and disinformation.
Misinformation reduces trust in our communications systems, and more fundamentally our democracy, because it effectively exploits our beliefs, emotions, and identities. Interventions must be just as tailored to our local social and emotional contexts.
Our platform will be grounded in the everyday realities of how communities produce, consume, and interact with information, and will provide educational resources for building critical trust.