The Internet's vast information highway has opened up many new avenues for sharing information. Much of it is helpful. But a disturbing amount of it is false. After last month's Indian Ocean tsunami, images of deadly waves flooded e-mail accounts around the world. And many of the most spectacular pictures were fabricated.
Here are four he recommends:
Then came an onslaught of Internet rumors about what caused the tsunami, and whether donor nations had ulterior motives for sending aid to the victims.
— In 1999, an estimated 50 blogs existed. Today the figure may exceed 4 million.
— The top five political blogs are read by more than half-a-million visitors per day.
— The median income for a blog? "Zero dollars."
— One study suggests that the Internet's top dozen bloggers attract 20 percent of all links from other blogs... a key way bloggers measure their own success.
— According to another study, Farsi is the fourth-most widely used language among blogs worldwide.
— There are an estimated 300,000 bloggers in China despite government unease.
Source: 'Web of Influence' from 'Foreign Policy' magazine
Henry Farrell teaches political science at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. With Daniel Drezner, Farrell, co-authored "Web of Influence," an article for Foreign Policy magazine. Farrell discusses the growing phenomenon of cyber rumors with NPR's Scott Simon.