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With much of our country and the world navigating an uncharted course through the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19, we extend our most heartfelt and best wishes for the health and safety of you and your families. Our concerns and support extend beyond our own community to all who are affected by this health crisis. We know that many of our alumni and friends across the world are being impacted by this issue, and we continue to keep you in our thoughts during these challenging times.
As you may know, the University at Buffalo has implemented a distance learning model for our students and is moving to a remote work accommodation for our faculty and staff to the extent possible. It’s important to share that, in this ever-evolving situation, our two guiding principles are the health and safety of our community, and the continued academic progress of our students.
In many ways, it is your ongoing support of UB that enables the university to provide the resources to support our community in these difficult times. Whether your gifts have been to the UB Fund, or to a specific scholarship or research initiative, each and every day we put your contributions to work where they will have the maximum impact at UB. Thank you for your investment and commitment to UB.
While we won’t be able to see you in person at UB programs and events in the short term, we are working on ways to keep your connection to UB – and to each other – strong. Pursuant to recent University, CDC and local health department guidelines, all alumni, in-person gatherings, including events, conferences, meetings and other forums, are being cancelled or postponed until at least early June.
Published September 26, 2017
On September 19th, 2017, Dr. Janet Yang was awarded a prestigious grant through the National Science Foundation entitled RAPID: Identification of Key Dynamics for Rumor Spread and Control during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma for $175,000. Forms of social media are a growing in use among the public, and the community has become dependent on this type of media as their main source of information when it comes to emergency situations such as hurricanes and floods. During the most recent hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, the immediate spread of information regarding these disasters resulted in a great deal of misinformation to the public. Prompt sharing features of social media often make fabricated stories difficult to manage, as information from official sources to debunk rumors arrives too late.
The project will allow for the collection and analysis of data related to how rumors were spread during Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and how their message was controlled to the public. The main objectives of the project are to study 1) the spread of fabricated stories on social media sites; 2) what effective debunking networks establish; and 3) how the community deals with risk information that stipulate subsequent communication behaviors such as the sharing and processing of information.
Using social network analysis, content analysis, surveys, interviews, optimization and simulation, the study will identify rumor response behaviors of social media users during disasters and the motivations behind social media users' risk communication behaviors.