Posted by: ashbeanpdx | November 6, 2017

Real or fake? How to make yourself more media literate

In Combating Fake News: An Agenda for Research and Action, Lazer et. al. confirm that we experience vulnerability to fake news due to the “rapid proliferation of online news and political opinion outlets, and especially social media.” Given the quick rise in digital technology into our everyday lives we are not likely to give it up that easily. So how do you avoid the clickbait headlines of fake news? Lazer et. al. suggests three immediate opportunities:

  • Involve conservatives in discussions about misinformation in politics.
  • Make the truth “louder” by collaborating with journalists and strengthening trustworthy information sources.
  • Develop shared resources for conducting academic research on the presence of fake news and its spread on social media platforms.

Another approach could be teaching media literacy. Italy has decided to add curriculum for high school students to learn to recognize fake news. NPR reports here: “the experiment will be rolled out in 8,000 schools to start showing students how to check the source of an article and to create blogs to expose hoaxes.” The NPR interview also suggests that governments may limit free speech as a way to combat fake news. Do you agree that we are at the mercy of what appears on our news feeds? Will attempts to curb fake news result in government’s potentially suppressing free speech?

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