IIT Jodhpur
ICSSR Project Awarded 2022

Title of the research project: An interdisciplinary study of Technologically Manipulated Information:  Its ecosystem and its psycho-social impact


Like many other countries, India has uneven levels of digital literacy.  While some of its populations are proficient in cutting-edge digital technology, the larger body remains somewhat uninformed, mere technology end-users. Yet, the popularity of social media as a personal and social communication platform is escalating among the Indian populace.  

Fake news, i.e. news that is manufactured instead of being actual, probably was always there.  However, with the internet, ever-growing popularity of social media, and rapidly evolving advanced level AI Tools: Technologically manipulated information (TMI) (misinformation, disinformation) and its dissemination has reached an unprecedented level. By TMI, we mean any text, image, or video in which the information has been technologically modified, or replaced to create a piece of information which is difficult to distinguish from real information. Not all TMI are malicious, but some are manufactured with malicious intent.

The threat from TMI is real, given the uneven digital literacy, and the gullibility of common people  Social media information sometimes is being deftly manipulated by current AI tools, such as deep learning,  to generate fake newsmisinformation, and disinformationdeep-fake. These  take advantage of the unsuspecting gullibility of the end-users and have a great potential to manipulate their belief systems. Potential abuse of such manipulated information poses a veritable threat to individual privacy and social peace and cohesion in the present information age.

The present study strives to make a more holistic attempt to equip ourselves against such a threat. It will try to better understand the psycho-social impact of technologically manipulated information on social media users, at both individual and group levels, and will bring out the potential ethical implications of the problem.  It also will try to understand the role the socio-cultural factors play in heightening the credibility and consequently causing such manipulated information ‘to go viral’.  On the other hand, it will try to capture the principles, the motivation, and the strategies of the social institutions and organizations which work against such misinformation /disinformation, and verify the information for its factual authenticity, and identify the possibility of technological manipulation.  Finally, it aims to come up with policy recommendations and a set of interventions.

Specific Objectives:

1.To identify the psycho-social factors of the social media users (as an individual and in a group), which are manipulated to increase the believability quotient of TMI.

2.To understand the extent of the role which sociocultural factors play in aiding the virality of TMI

3.To develop algorithm for predicting virality

4.To  articulate the ethical implications of impact of TMI on individual and society

5.To comprehend the motivation and the functioning of social institutions and organizations which combat the threat of TMI /  misinformation/disinformation. 


Funding agency: Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR)


Awarded in : 2022

Duration: 2 Years


Project Director (PI): Prof Chhanda Chakraborti , School of Liberal Arts, IIT Jodhpur


Co-Project Directors:

Dr Ankita Sharma , School of Liberal Arts, IIT Jodhpur

Dr Prasenjeet Tribhuban, School of Liberal Arts, IIT  Jodhpur

Dr Rajendra Nagar, Dept of Electrical Engg, IIT Jodhpur