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Conspiracy Theories, Extremism, and TikTok: A Conversation with a Disinformation Researcher

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST

Conspiracy Theories, Extremism, and TikTok: A Conversation with a Disinformation Researcher

Presented by Peter Adams, Senior Vice President, Education, News Literacy Project; and Abbie Richards, TikToker and TikTok Disinformation Researcher
Moderated by Shaelynn Farnsworth, National Director of Educator Outreach and Success, News Literacy Project

Sponsored by News Literacy Project

Register Here Get the Recording

The recording will be posted on this page after the live session. Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation. Get a CE Certificate for this edWebinar Learn more.

From QAnon to pandemic-related beliefs, conspiracy theories are increasingly part of mainstream discourse and public awareness. Many conspiracy theories take hold via social media such as TikTok, Facebook and Twitter, posing a particular threat to young users who can easily fall down rabbit holes and even get drawn into extremist ideologies. However, social media also hosts a number of influencers and resources devoted to combatting misinformation and disinformation, including the popular @tofology TikTok channel created by TikTok disinformation researcher Abbie Richards.

In this edWebinar with Peter Adams, the senior vice president of the News Literacy Project, and Abbie Richards, attendees will learn how to recognize conspiratorial thinking patterns and pitfalls and common strategies employed online by conspiracy theory adherents. They will also explore the connection between conspiratorial beliefs and extremist ideologies. Attendees will gain an understanding of the stakes posed by conspiracy theories and receive guidance on effective educational resources related to this topic, including Abbie’s popular conspiracy theories chart.

This edWebinar will be of interest to teachers, librarians, and school and district leaders of the middle school, high school, and higher education levels. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask Peter and Abbie questions about conspiracy theories, social media and best practices in teaching about this challenging topic.


Peter AdamsAbout the Presenters

Peter Adams is the News Literacy Project’s Senior Vice President of Education. He began his career as a classroom teacher in New York City schools through Teach For America. He has also taught in the Chicago Public Schools, at Roosevelt University, and at Chicago City Colleges’ Wilbur Wright campus. In addition, he has worked with the NYC Teaching Fellows program, with After School Matters, and as an independent education consultant.

Since joining the News Literacy Project in 2009, he has coordinated classroom and after-school programs, served as Chicago Program Manager, worked on organizational strategy, and developed their digital program. He has also provided news literacy training and workshops to educators and others throughout the area. He was promoted to his current position in January 2014 and oversees the education team, which develops resources and training for teachers. He and the other team members are based in Chicago.

Peter is a graduate of Indiana University, where he majored in English and African American studies and co-founded an independent monthly student newspaper. He has a master’s degree in the humanities from the University of Chicago.


Abbie Richards

Abbie Richards is a TikToker and a TikTok disinformation researcher. She specializes in understanding how misinformation, disinformation, and extremism spread on TikTok and she creates educational content which explains these complex issues to a wider audience. She’s built a multi-platform following of nearly 400,000 and is known for work like her Conspiracy Chart, her QAnon 101 series, and her research and videos tackling radicalization on TikTok. She is also the co-founder of EcoTok, an environmental TikTok collective.


Shaelynn FarnsworthAbout the Moderator

Shaelynn Farnsworth is the News Literacy Project’s National Director of Educator Outreach and Success. Shaelynn has over 20 years of experience in education. She spent the first part of her career as a high school English teacher in Conrad, Iowa, where she reimagined teaching and learning in her classroom and became a leader in the convergence between literacy and technology. Shaelynn focused on developing student skills in information consumption, creating innovative ways for students to demonstrate understanding, and inspiring healthy skepticism in the digital age. She was recruited by a regional state education agency in Iowa, where she was a school improvement consultant for seven years. Shaelynn supported districts throughout Iowa in the areas of literacy, technology, AIW, and systemic change. She was a member of the state’s literacy, social studies, and technology leadership teams. Shaelynn holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English from the University of Northern Iowa.


To participate in the live edWebinar, log in with current version of Google Chrome or install the meeting app prior to the edWebinar on your computer, your Apple device, or Android device.  If you have a firewall in your location, you can participate on your mobile device using your cellular data (not your local network).

The edWebinar recording will be posted to this page the day after the presentation. Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

Join the News Literacy community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Project is a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, providing programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.

News Literacy Project


Tuesday, November 30, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST
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