Read like a fact-checker

photo of fake news display: What is fake news? What is the filter bubble? How can I tell what is true?

A photo of the “fake news” display at the Robbins Library. The display will be up through the end of January.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are a cornerstone of our democracy; they are enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Historically, humanity has struggled for access to information, or access to enough, good quality information; now, we have the opposite problem. Anyone can write anything and spread it easily and quickly; it is now up to the reader to discern whether the information is accurate or false, or somewhere in between. In short, we must all learn to read like a fact-checker.

To accompany our display (see above) and previous blog post examining the questions “What is fake news?,” “What is the filter bubble?,” and “How can I tell what is true?,” here is some further reading for those who are interested in the problem of fake news. From the links below, you can learn tips and tricks for how to be a savvy information consumer; you’ll learn the role that search engines (e.g. Google) and social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) play in spreading all kinds of information; and you’ll understand why information evaluation and media literacy are such important skills.

“Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning,” Stanford History Education Group, November 22, 2016 [PDF]

“Ordinary people once relied on publishers, editors, and subject matter experts to vet the information they consumed. But on the unregulated Internet, all bets are off….At present, we worry that democracy is threatened by the ease at which disinformation about civic issues is allowed to spread and flourish.” -Stanford History Education Group

“Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds,” Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2016

“A growing number of schools are teaching students to be savvy about choosing and believing various information sources, a skill set educators label ‘media literacy.'” -The Wall Street Journal

“Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds,” Camila Domonoske, NPR News, November 23, 2016

“The kinds of duties that used to be the responsibility of editors, of librarians now fall on the shoulders of anyone who uses a screen to become informed about the world….And so the response is not to take away these rights from ordinary citizens but to teach them how to thoughtfully engage in information seeking and evaluating in a cacophonous democracy.” -NPR News

“Blame the Echo Chamber on Facebook. But Blame Yourself, Too,” Kartik Hosanagar, Wired, November 25, 2016

“Echo chambers are obviously problematic; social discourse suffers when people have a narrow information base with little in common with one another.” -Wired

“Inside a Fake News Sausage Factory: ‘This Is All About Income,’” Andrew Higgins, Mike McIntire, Gabriel J.X. Dance, The New York Times, November 25, 2016

“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not….If we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.” -President Obama quoted in the New York Times

“In the war on fake news, school librarians have a huge role to play,” Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Verge, November 16, 2016

“Misinformation is perpetuated because people aren’t taking the time to evaluate sources before they accept it as truth and/or pass it on to others.” -The Verge

“Google, democracy, and the truth about Internet search,” Carole Cadwalladr, The Guardian, December 4, 2016

“The contents of a page of search results can influence people’s views and opinions.” -The Guardian

“The ‘Comet Pizza’ Gunman Provides a Glimpse of a Frightening Future,” David A. Graham, The Atlantic, December 5, 2016

“Without any promising answer to the problem of fake news, outlandish false claims…will continue to grow.” -The Atlantic

“How Data and Information Literacy Could End Fake News,” Kalev Leetaru, Forbes, December 11, 2016

“At its core, the rise of “fake news” is first and foremost a sign that we have failed as a society to teach our citizens how to think critically about data and information.” -Forbes

“Why fake news holds such allure,” Story Hinckley, Christian Science Monitor, December 15, 2016

“Fake news is the ultimatum of a political news culture that has increasingly focused on confirming readers’ own worldview instead of challenging them, experts say.” -Christian Science Monitor

“Indiana University tech tool “Hoaxy” Shows How Fake News Spreads,” Gretel Kauffman, Christian Science Monitor, December 22, 2016

“In the latest move in the battle against fake news, a new website dubbed “Hoaxy” offers free visual representations of how unverified news stories spread, mapping out who has shared them on social media and the degree to which they’ve gone viral.” -Christian Science Monitor


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3 Responses to Read like a fact-checker

  1. Pingback: Libraries in a Post-Truth World – Jenny Arch

  2. Pingback: “What is fake news?” informational pamphlet – Jenny Arch

  3. Pingback: Libraries in a Post-Truth World: The Conversation Continues – Jenny Arch

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