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Volume 630 Issue 8015, 6 June 2024

Fake news?

Online misinformation is frequently highlighted as a blight that threatens to undermine the fabric of society, polarize opinions and even destabilize elections. In this week’s issue, a collection of articles probe the scourge of misinformation and try to assess the real risks. In one research paper, David Lazer and colleagues examine the effects of Twitter deplatforming 70,000 traffickers of misinformation in the wake of violent scenes at the US Capitol in January 2021. In a second paper, Wajeeha Ahmad and co-workers explore the relationship between advertising revenue and misinformation. A Comment article by Ullrich Ecker and colleagues discusses the risks posed by misinformation to democracy and elections, and an accompanying Comment article by Kiran Garimella and Simon Chauchard assesses the prevalence of AI-generated misinformation in India. Finally, David Rothschild and colleagues put the harms of misinformation into perspective, highlighting common misperceptions that exaggerate its threat and suggesting steps to improve evaluation of both the effects of misinformation and the efforts made to combat it.

Cover image: Kelly Krause/Nature

This Week

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News in Focus

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  • News & Views

    • Soft solids that swell with shifts in pressure, temperature and pH provide a way of detecting such changes in the fluid around the brain. The method could be used to determine other properties of fluids elsewhere in the body.

      • Jules J. Magda
      News & Views
    • Neuroscientists find that two distinct neural pathways are responsible for the addictive properties of the opioid fentanyl: one mediates reward, the other promotes the seeking of relief from symptoms of withdrawal.

      • Markus Heilig
      • Michele Petrella
      News & Views
  • Perspective

    • This Perspective identifies common misperceptions regarding the harms of online misinformation, finding that exposure to false and inflammatory content is rare and concentrated among a small minority of people who already have extreme views.

      • Ceren Budak
      • Brendan Nyhan
      • Duncan J. Watts
  • Articles

    • An approach called wavefunction matching transforms particle interactions so that their wavefunctions match those of easily computable interactions, to allow for calculations of quantum many-body systems that would otherwise be difficult or impossible.

      • Serdar Elhatisari
      • Lukas Bovermann
      • Gianluca Stellin
      Article Open Access
    • A modular quantum system-on-chip architecture integrates thousands of individually addressable spin qubits in two-dimensional quantum microchiplet arrays into an integrated circuit designed for cryogenic control, supporting full connectivity for quantum memory arrays across spin–photon channels.

      • Linsen Li
      • Lorenzo De Santis
      • Dirk Englund
    • By combining spatial and frequency dispersive thin-film interfaces with deep residual learning, a miniature photodetector allowing the acquisition of high-dimensional information on light in a single-shot fashion is described.

      • Yandong Fan
      • Weian Huang
      • Wei Li
    • A bioresorbable, wireless hydrogel (metagel) sensor, encompassing both biodegradable and stimulus-responsive hydrogels for ultrasonic monitoring of intracranial signals, was implanted into intracranial space with a puncture needle and deformed in response to physiological environmental changes.

      • Hanchuan Tang
      • Yueying Yang
      • Jianfeng Zang
    • A previously undescribed photocatalytic approach enables the effective p-type and n-type doping of organic semiconductors at room temperature using only widely available weak dopants such as oxygen and triethylamine.

      • Wenlong Jin
      • Chi-Yuan Yang
      • Simone Fabiano
      Article Open Access
    • The use of computational crystal-structure prediction has enabled the targeted assembly of frameworks of porous organic ammonium halide salts that have many of the qualities of metal–organic frameworks despite containing no metal.

      • Megan O’Shaughnessy
      • Joseph Glover
      • Andrew I. Cooper
      Article Open Access
    • Time-resolved photoelectron circular dichroism with a temporal resolution of 2.9 fs is used to track the ultrafast electron dynamics following ultraviolet excitation of neutral chiral molecules, which generate chiral currents that exhibit periodic rotation direction reversal.

      • Vincent Wanie
      • Etienne Bloch
      • Francesca Calegari
      Article Open Access
    • Many companies unknowingly advertise on websites that publish misinformation despite the reputational and financial risks, and increased transparency for consumers and advertisers could counter unintended ad revenue going to misinformation websites.

      • Wajeeha Ahmad
      • Ananya Sen
      • Erik Brynjolfsson
      Article Open Access
    • Experiments using fentanyl treatment of mice show that µ-opioid receptors mediate positive reinforcement in the ventral tegmental area and negative reinforcement in central amygdala, thereby identifying the circuits that lead to opioid addiction.

      • Fabrice Chaudun
      • Laurena Python
      • Christian Lüscher
      Article Open Access
    • Proteomic data from natural isolates of Saccharomyces cerevisiae provide insight into how these cells tolerate aneuploidy (an imbalance in the number of chromosomes), and reveal differences between lab-engineered aneuploids and diverse natural yeasts.

      • Julia Muenzner
      • Pauline Trébulle
      • Markus Ralser
      Article Open Access
    • Harnessing single-nucleus RNA sequencing and spatial profiling, this work dissects unanticipated aspects of human liver regeneration to uncover a novel migratory hepatocyte subpopulation mediating wound closure following acute liver injury.

      • K. P. Matchett
      • J. R. Wilson-Kanamori
      • N. C. Henderson
      Article Open Access
    • Single-cell RNA sequencing and 3D imaging have revealed the cellular changes and structural reorganization that occur during the progression of human chronic liver disease and as the liver attempts to regenerate.

      • Christopher Gribben
      • Vasileios Galanakis
      • Ludovic Vallier
      Article Open Access
    • Radiopharmaceuticals engineered with click chemistry to selectively bind to tumour-specific proteins can be used to successfully target tumour cells, boosting the pharmacokinetics of radionuclide therapy and improving tumour regression.

      • Xi-Yang Cui
      • Zhu Li
      • Zhibo Liu
    • Detailed analyses of the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A and the psychedelic 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine reveal the differences in receptor structural pharmacology that mediate signalling specificity, efficacy and potency, findings that may facilitate the development of new neuropsychiatric therapeutics.

      • Audrey L. Warren
      • David Lankri
      • Daniel Wacker
    • Cryo-electron microscopy structures of the noradrenaline transporter in the apo state, bound to noradrenaline and bound to various antidepressants shed light on the substrate transport, molecular recognition and dimeric architecture of this protein.

      • Heng Zhang
      • Yu-Ling Yin
      • Yi Jiang
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Amendments & Corrections

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Nature Index

  • China's status at the summit of the Nature Index remains unrivalled as the gap between it and the United States grows.

    Nature Index
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