Fact or True Fact?

Guilty as charged.  I think it is safe to say I am always connected to some sort of social media or internet outlet.  I can’t think of a morning that didn’t start with a Twitter and Facebook stroll before getting out of bed.  I know this creates my own filter bubble that allows me to only see the news I want to see which I recognize can be quite skewed.   I can’t bring myself to follow uber conservative content creators such as Fox News.  But what does this say about my social media use? I am not always seeing the full picture, not allowing myself to read both sides of an argument (or having both sides nicely show up on my time line for me to easily have access too), and have self selected my own echo chamber.  Academically, I would never read only one side of an argument before submitting a paper or final assignment.  Professionally, I know there is always more than two ways or leading theories to implement and execute student programming, and I would eagerly seek out multiple perspectives.  But when it comes to person use, I can admit to be quite one sided.  Is it because its easier to only read the news articles I know I generally will be on board with? Likely.  Does that make me a well rounded and informed citizen? Unlikely.

The article The Challenge That is Bigger that Fake News was particularly interesting to me as it included college age students in the study.  It is not only children who need to learn the skill of critical evaluation and analysis, but college students that must have these skills reinforced on a regular basis.  It is not enough to assume “they’ve got it now.”  It seems quite popular for younger generations to get their news from social media sites, but then they must have the skills to evaluate the information being thrown their way. The example of college students having to find additional sources to back up  or disprove the article they were given as part of the study seems like it should be a requirement that all college level students should have. Yet this study shows only 6% of college students passed the assessment.  This should be an eye opener to many of us.

For myself, seeking out fake news strategies are similar to what my classmates have stated such as Jana or Jessica.  Some key takeways for myself are:

1) Is an author cited or just a news company?
2) Is it a company I have heard of before?
3) What is the link to the article?
4) Can I find other sources backing the same information?

Finally, what I really want to know is are there legislation around those who are caught posting fake news purposefully? If not, should there be? We have seen the effects fake news can have in elections and I think it is important those reporting fake news should really be penalized if caught.  Maybe we will touch on this topic this week!





One Reply to “Fact or True Fact?”

  1. You raised great questions in this blog post – and it should make us all pause and reflect on what we are consuming is true, or perhaps more importantly, to determine the intention of the message.

    I believe that legislation to ban publishers of misinformation (particularly disinformation that is damaging to public discourse) would be beneficial – but I feel most such places are operating off-shore under different jurisdictions and even if they were within Canada they could state they are satirical or for entertainment purposes only.

    Perhaps the best approach is for our society to become better Digital Citizens and selectively read reputable news sources (ignoring the “fake” news) and effectively remove any revenue streams from the fake news sites.


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