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Fake news research receives global recognition

Research into fake news and social bots by a Leeds Beckett University academic has received high praise from an influential US foundation.

ECM communications

The study, co-authored by Professor Ralph Tench, director of research at Leeds Business School, has been ranked fifth in the leading research projects survey for the last year compiled by the Institute for Public Relations (United States).

Professor Tench worked on the European Communication Monitor 2017, which examined issues including the increasing pace of technological change (hypermodernity) and using images to communicate messages (visualisation).

The study, by five professors representing EUPRERA (European Public Relations Education and Research Association), of which Professor Tench is president, surveyed the communications sector in 50 European countries.

According to the research, the risks and opportunities of digital and the social web are as pressing as ever.

Commenting on the study, Professor Tench said: “We have been studying communications trends annually through the ECM (European Communication Monitor) for 12 years and each year we focus on different issues influencing practice.

“Social bots were used in political campaigns in the United Kingdom (Brexit) and in the United States (2016 presidential campaign).

“And although it is obvious that social bots are increasingly an influential part of social, commercial and political communication, the ECM 2017 shows that many communication professionals in Europe neglect the trend.”

The survey is currently in its 12th year and the broader Monitor series has been expanded to include an Asia Pacific Monitor, a Latin American Monitor and for 2018 a North American Communication Monitor making this the largest and most comprehensive study of practice in the field worldwide.

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