Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Political Science and Law

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Brigid Callahan Harrison

Committee Member

Zsolt Nyiri

Committee Member

Benjamin Nienass


In this article, I address the importance of finding tangible and viable solutions in minimizing susceptibility to online disinformation. I identify three main types of causal factors that lead to susceptibility: political, psychological, and technical; recognizing the implications of political polarization, news media, cognitive phenomena, algorithms, and online behavior that leads to saturation and susceptibility to false information. I argue that by thoroughly compartmentalizing causal variables into three main factors, each can then be addressed and solved in their own unique way. I analyze each factor, deriving reinforcing theories and evidence from various articles, experiments, and publications. I propose that universalizing online regulations and policies, reforming social media algorithms from less biased developers, lessening online activity, and training ideologically impartial journalists and users to reverse more immediate and prominent causal factors. I predict that each solution will naturally saturate into each factor if successful. I conclude by addressing the severity of online disinformation and that similar or adjacent proposals will accelerate the fight against disinformation.

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