Propaganda and Disinformation on Social Media

Course content

Propaganda and disinformation on social media are increasingly gaining attention both among journalists and government officials. The concern manifests itself in the popular interest in “fake news”, the rise of the fact-checking industry and new governmental security policies towards online “information threats”. However, such policy requires a clear understanding of the phenomena itself. In light of this, the seminar offers an introduction to studies of social media, propaganda and disinformation in the context of international conflicts. It draws upon the disciplines of political science, sociology and media studies. The participants will critically engage with competing theories and conceptions of the phenomena, while drawing upon historic and contemporary cases of propaganda and disinformation in USA and Russia as some of the empirical examples. The seminar will be centered around discussions concerning the role of social media and the historical novelty of digital mass deception. Furthermore, the participants will critically reflect upon the more recent concepts of hybrid warfare and the competing measures against digital disinformation and propaganda. 


Full-degree students enrolled at the Department of Political Science, UCPH

  • MSc in Political Science
  • MSc in Social Science
  • MSc in Security Risk Management
  • Bachelor in Political Science


Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

  • Master Programme in Social Data Science
  • Master programme in Global Development
  • Bachelor and Master Programme in Psychology


The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students
Learning outcome


The course will give students knowledge about theories on propaganda and disinformation, as well as the relevant empirical insights.



By the end of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Analyze empirical cases of disinformation and propaganda on social media.
  • Compare and evaluate countermeasures against disinformation and propaganda.
  • Critically reflect upon the novelty of the abovementioned information threats in the context of New Media.



The course sessions will further the student’s ability to understand online information threats in the context of international conflict. It will offer useful insights for students who may wish to pursue other courses and research projects related to international relations, security or media studies. Furthermore, the course is relevant for students who wish to pursue a career in international relations, diplomacy, security or communication.

The course will consist of lectures, group discussion and exercises. Students will read texts and discuss the material in groups. This course is centered on active student participation in class.

Bernays, E. L., & Miller, M. C. (1928). Propaganda. Ig publishing.

Eriksson, Johan & Giampiero Giacomello (2006) ‘The Information Revolution, Security, 
and International Relations: (IR)relevant Theory?’. International Political Science Review 27 (3), 221-244.

Fuchs, C. (2013). Social media: A critical introduction. Sage.

Jowett, G. S., & O'donnell, V. (2014). Propaganda & persuasion. Sage.

Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U. K., Seifert, C. M., Schwarz, N., & Cook, J. (2012). Misinformation and its correction continued influence and successful debiasing. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13(3), 106-131.

Morozov, E. (2012). The net delusion: The dark side of Internet freedom. PublicAffairs.

Pamment, J., & Bjola, C. (2016). Digital containment: Revisiting containment strategy in the digital age. Global Affairs.

Pomerantsev, Peter (2015). ‘The Kremlin’s Information War’. Journal of Democracy,.26(4) 40-50.

Golovchenko, Y., Hartmann, M., & Adler-Nissen, R. (2018). State, media and civil society in the information warfare over Ukraine: citizen curators of digital disinformation. International Affairs, 94(5), 975-994.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Free written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Free written assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assessment

Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings

Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings

Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester


Department of Political Science, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Psychology
  • Social Data Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Yevgeniy Golovchenko   (2-87754e7774813c79833c7279)
Saved on the 01-05-2024

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