Mission & Values

At the Information Epidemiology Lab (InfoEpi Lab), we recognize that access to the most accurate information is an intrinsic human right and a cornerstone of individual autonomy and free will. We steadfastly defend this right through research on efforts to mislead, sharing our observations, recommending evidence-based policy, and providing tools.

Promoting Autonomy and Free Will

We are dedicated to safeguarding and advancing the fundamental right to accurate information, untainted by manipulative mediums, messages, and messengers. Intentional deception that coerces individuals into making decisions they wouldn’t otherwise make is a grievous breach of personal autonomy. Our work focuses on identifying, analyzing, and countering unethical influence.

Interdisciplinary Perspective

We practice and promote interdisciplinary research that combines knowledge, methodologies, and insights from multiple disciplines to address complex issues. We firmly believe that no single field or group holds all the answers to the increasingly complex problems that society now faces. We aim to find the most comprehensive, practical solutions through collaborative efforts.

Commitment to Non-partisanship

As a nonpartisan organization, we neither favor nor promote any political groups. Distinct from false balance, non-partisanship is a value that allows us to engage with society credibly. Through this collaborative approach, we work toward a world where information empowers rather than misleads.

How We Define Key Terms


The definition of “countering” varies by field, so here is what it means to us.

  • Educating the public about our research

  • Evidence-based policy recommendations

  • Responding to the needs of communities in real-time

  • Streamlining communication

  • Community engagement and partnerships

  • Meeting the needs found in information voids (data voids)

  • Resources for infodemic managers

  • Ethical social listening

  • Equipping journalists with the resources and tools

  • Providing knowledge and resources that help evaluate information

  • Helping people understand cognitive biases, mental tendencies, and how these affect our perception

Our guiding principles are that access to accurate information is an intrinsic human right, a cornerstone of individual autonomy, and a prerequisite for exercising free will. Necessarily, we view attempts to deceive individuals—no matter the justification—as violating their right to accurate information. We do not engage in, encourage, or enable others to use unethical influence.

Unethical Influence

“Unethical Influence” refers to a broad range of manipulative tactics and practices aimed at altering an individual’s perceptions, beliefs, or behaviors through morally questionable or outright deceptive means. This concept encompasses various methods, including but not limited to:

  • Deception: Utilizing false information, misleading statements, or presenting facts out of context to sway someone’s understanding or decision-making in a way that benefits the influencer at the expense of the influenced.

  • Exploitation of Biases and Mental Heuristics: Taking advantage of inherent cognitive biases or mental shortcuts that people use to process information. This could involve playing on common tendencies like confirmation bias (favoring information that confirms existing beliefs) or the bandwagon effect (conforming to what others do).

  • Misleading Communication: Deliberately crafting ambiguous messages containing half-truths or framing them in a way that leads to misinterpretation or a skewed understanding of the situation. Another common example is misleadingly presenting a messenger, such as interviewing a medical doctor in an area outside their expertise to contradict relevant experts. This unethical influence tactic, pioneered by Big Tobacco, exploits the trust that many people have in medical professionals.

  • Use of Traditional Censorship: Imposing restrictions on free speech or access to information, typically through authoritative or institutional means, to prevent certain viewpoints or information from being disseminated or heard.

  • Employment of Alternative Censorship Methods: This includes tactics like targeted harassment, doxxing (publicly revealing private information), or other forms of intimidation to silence or discourage individuals from expressing their opinions or sharing information.

  • Psychological Manipulation: Engaging in tactics that affect emotions, fears, or psychological vulnerabilities. This could involve gas-lighting (making someone question their reality), exerting undue pressure, or using fear-mongering tactics.

  • Abuse of Power or Authority: Leveraging a position of power or authority to influence someone’s decisions or beliefs in a way that may not be in their best interest but serves the agenda of the person in power.

  • Selective Information Exposure: Deliberately limiting someone’s access to a full range of information, thereby shaping their perception based on a curated set of data or viewpoints.

Unethical influence is often characterized by a lack of transparency, respect for autonomy, and fair presentation of information. It undermines the principles of informed consent and free will, leading to decisions or beliefs that might not reflect the individual’s valid preferences or best interests.


Want to follow InfoEpi Lab’s work? Subscribe.