This guide links to websites touching on media accuracy, media bias, disinformation, and algorithmic control of information. Also provides links to Pew Research, Ad Fontes Media, as well as fact checking and news literacy websites.
Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, concerns about fake news have fostered calls for government regulation and industry intervention to mitigate the influence of false content. These proposals are hindered by a lack of consensus concerning the definition of fake news or its origins. Media scholar Nolan Higdon contends that expanded access to critical media literacy education, grounded in a comprehensive history of fake news, is a more promising solution to these issues. The Anatomy of Fake News offers the first historical examination of fake news that takes as its goal the effective teaching of critical news literacy in the United States. Higdon employs a critical-historical media ecosystems approach to identify the producers, themes, purposes, and influences of fake news. The findings are then incorporated into an invaluable fake news detection kit. This much-needed resource provides a rich history and a promising set of pedagogical strategies for mitigating the pernicious influence of fake news.
"Trenchant and intelligent." --The New York Times As seen/heard on NPR, New Yorker Radio Hour, The New York Book Review Podcast, PBS Newshour, CNBC, and more. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice A New York Times Notable Book of 2019 From a rising star at The New Yorker, a deeply immersive chronicle of how the optimistic entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley set out to create a free and democratic internet--and how the cynical propagandists of the alt-right exploited that freedom to propel the extreme into the mainstream. For several years, Andrew Marantz, a New Yorker staff writer, has been embedded in two worlds. The first is the world of social-media entrepreneurs, who, acting out of naïvete and reckless ambition, upended all traditional means of receiving and transmitting information. The second is the world of the people he calls "the gate crashers"--the conspiracists, white supremacists, and nihilist trolls who have become experts at using social media to advance their corrosive agenda. Antisocial ranges broadly--from the first mass-printed books to the trending hashtags of the present; from secret gatherings of neo-Fascists to the White House press briefing room--and traces how the unthinkable becomes thinkable, and then how it becomes reality. Combining the keen narrative detail of Bill Buford's Among the Thugs and the sweep of George Packer's The Unwinding, Antisocial reveals how the boundaries between technology, media, and politics have been erased, resulting in a deeply broken informational landscape--the landscape in which we all now live. Marantz shows how alienated young people are led down the rabbit hole of online radicalization, and how fringe ideas spread--from anonymous corners of social media to cable TV to the President's Twitter feed. Marantz also sits with the creators of social media as they start to reckon with the forces they've unleashed. Will they be able to solve the communication crisis they helped bring about, or are their interventions too little too late?
How to make liberal democracies more inclusive and the digital economy more equitable: a guide for the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution. Around the world, liberal democracies are in crisis. Citizens have lost faith in their government; right-wing nationalist movements frame the political debate. At the same time, economic inequality is increasing dramatically; digital technologies have created a new class of super-rich entrepreneurs. Automation threatens to transform the free economy into a zero-sum game in which capital wins and labor loses. But is this digital dystopia inevitable? In Cyber Republic, George Zarkadakis presents an alternative, outlining a plan for using technology to make liberal democracies more inclusive and the digital economy more equitable. Cyber Republic is no less than a guide for the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution. Zarkadakis, an expert on technology and management, explains how artificial intelligence, together with intelligent robotics, sophisticated sensors, communication networks, and big data, will fundamentally reshape the global economy; a new "intelligent machine age" will force us to adopt new forms of economic and political organization. He envisions a future liberal democracy in which intelligent machines facilitate citizen assemblies, helping to extend citizen rights, and blockchains and cryptoeconomics enable new forms of democratic governance and business collaboration. Moreover, the same technologies can be applied to scientific research and technological innovation. We need not fear automation, Zarkadakis argues; in a postwork future, intelligent machines can collaborate with humans to achieve the human goals of inclusivity and equality.
Gives you the superpower to be a healthy skeptic when consuming data and information. Data Duped is a book about how we are commonly deceived by numbers in our everyday lives. From lotteries, product warranties, and weight loss fads to misleading headlines and social media posts, there is no shortage of confusing or misleading information. Numbers are used to manipulate our decisions and impact our lives in ways that may not be immediately apparent. Data Duped will help you avoid being fooled by these messages and to develop a sense of 'data defense' by learning what types of questions to ask and how to maintain a healthy level of curiosity and data skepticism. Data Duped guides readers to discern the differences between the plausible and the ridiculous along a journey of informed critical thinking and data literacy. With historical parallels alongside practical and relatable examples, readers will learn how to spot the 'malarkey' from the truth and how to avoid being hoodwinked by misinformation.
Open Educational Resource - OER - Open Access
This book explores the challenges that disinformation, fake news, and post-truth politics pose to democracy from a multidisciplinary perspective. The authors analyse and interpret how the use of technology and social media as well as the emergence of new political narratives has been progressively changing the information landscape, undermining some of the pillars of democracy. The volume sheds light on some topical questions connected to fake news, thereby contributing to a fuller understanding of its impact on democracy. In the Introduction, the editors offer some orientating definitions of post-truth politics, building a theoretical framework where various different aspects of fake news can be understood. The book is then divided into three parts: Part I helps to contextualise the phenomena investigated, offering definitions and discussing key concepts as well as aspects linked to the manipulation of information systems, especially considering its reverberation on democracy. Part II considers the phenomena of disinformation, fake news, and post-truth politics in the context of Russia, which emerges as a laboratory where the phases of creation and diffusion of fake news can be broken down and analysed; consequently, Part II also reflects on the ways to counteract disinformation and fake news. Part III moves from case studies in Western and Central Europe to reflect on the methodological difficulty of investigating disinformation, as well as tackling the very delicate question of detection, combat, and prevention of fake news. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of political science, law, political philosophy, journalism, media studies, and computer science, since it provides a multidisciplinary approach to the analysis of post-truth politics.
Facebook, the Media and Democracy examines Facebook Inc. and the impact that it has had and continues to have on media and democracy around the world. Drawing on interviews with Facebook users of different kinds and dialogue with politicians, regulators, civil society and media commentators, as well as detailed documentary scrutiny of legislative and regulatory proposals and Facebook's corporate statements, the book presents a comprehensive but clear overview of the current debate around Facebook and the global debate on the regulation of social media in the era of 'surveillance capitalism.' Chapters examine the business and growing institutional power of Facebook as it has unfolded over the fifteen years since its creation, the benefits and meanings that it has provided for its users, its disruptive challenge to the contemporary media environment, its shaping of conversations, and the emerging calls for its further regulation. The book considers Facebook's alleged role in the rise of democratic movements around the world as well as its suggested role in the election of Donald Trump and the UK vote to leave the European Union. This book argues that Facebook, in some shape or form, is likely to be with us into the foreseeable future and that how we address the societal challenges that it provokes, and the economic system that underpins it, will define how human societies demonstrate their capacity to protect and enhance democracy and ensure that no corporation can set itself above democratic institutions. This is an important research volume for academics and researchers in the areas of media studies, communications, social media and political science.
After the election of Donald Trump as president, people in the United States and across large swaths of Europe, Latin America, and Asia engaged in the most intensive discussion in modern times about falsehoods pronounced by public officials. Fake facts in their various forms have long been present in American life, particularly in its politics, public discourse, and business activities - going back to the time when the country was formed. This book explores the long tradition of fake facts, in their various guises, in American history. It is one of the first historical studies to place the long history of lies and misrepresentation squarely in the middle of American political, business, and science policy rhetoric. In Fake News Nation, James Cortada and William Aspray present a series of case studies that describe how lies and fake facts were used over the past two centuries in important instances in American history. Cortada and Aspray give readers a perspective on fake facts as they appear today and as they are likely to appear in the future.
"An excellent introduction to the essential problem of our republic. With a wake-up call like this one, we still have a chance." --Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny Ghosting the News tells the most troubling media story of our time: How democracy suffers when local news dies. From 2004 to 2015, 1,800 print newspaper outlets closed in the US. One in five news organizations in Canada has closed since 2008. One in three Brazilians lives in news deserts. The absence of accountability journalism has created an atmosphere in which indicted politicians were elected, school superintendents were mismanaging districts, and police chiefs were getting mysterious payouts. This is not the much-discussed fake-news problem--it's the separate problem of a critical shortage of real news. America's premier media critic, Margaret Sullivan, charts the contours of the damage, and surveys a range of new efforts to keep local news alive--from non-profit digital sites to an effort modeled on the Peace Corps. No nostalgic paean to the roar of rumbling presses, Ghosting the News instead sounds a loud alarm, alerting citizens to a growing crisis in local news that has already done serious damage.
How the new conspiracists are undermining democracy--and what can be done about it Conspiracy theories are as old as politics. But conspiracists today have introduced something new--conspiracy without theory. And the new conspiracism has moved from the fringes to the heart of government with the election of Donald Trump. In A Lot of People Are Saying, Russell Muirhead and Nancy Rosenblum show how the new conspiracism differs from classic conspiracy theory, why so few officials speak truth to conspiracy, and what needs to be done to resist it. Classic conspiracy theory insists that things are not what they seem and gathers evidence--especially facts ominously withheld by official sources--to tease out secret machinations. The new conspiracism is different. There is no demand for evidence, no dots revealed to form a pattern, no close examination of shadowy plotters. Dispensing with the burden of explanation, the new conspiracism imposes its own reality through repetition (exemplified by the Trump catchphrase "a lot of people are saying") and bare assertion ("rigged!"). The new conspiracism targets democratic foundations--political parties and knowledge-producing institutions. It makes it more difficult to argue, persuade, negotiate, compromise, and even to disagree. Ultimately, it delegitimates democracy. Filled with vivid examples, A Lot of People Are Saying diagnoses a defining and disorienting feature of today's politics and offers a guide to responding to the threat.
The New Republic
"... democracy is not about one side winning. Democracy is about one side losing and supporters of that side trusting the result, being satisfied with the process, and remaining willing to play the game again under similar rules. Democracy is also about a citizenry that is willing and able to converse frankly and honestly about the problems it faces, sharing a set of facts and some forums through which informed citizens may deliberate. Clearly, none of that is happening in the United States, and less and less of it is happening around the world. Facebook's dominance over the global media ecosystem is one reason why."
New Yorker, 47(22), 74.
"'Our mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together' is a statement to be found in Facebook's Terms of Service; everyone who uses Facebook implicitly consents to this mission. During the years of the company's ascent, the world has witnessed a loneliness epidemic, the growth of political extremism and political violence, widening political polarization, the rise of authoritarianism, the decline of democracy, a catastrophic crisis in journalism, and an unprecedented rise in propaganda, fake news, and misinformation. By no means is Facebook responsible for these calamities, but evidence implicates the company as a contributor to each of them."
Winner, 2023 Columbia University Press Distinguished Book Award Winner, 2023 Frank Luther Mott / Kappa Tau Alpha Research Award Winner, 2023 Journalism Studies Division Book Award, International Communication Association Winner, 2023 History Book Award, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Long before the current preoccupation with "fake news," American newspapers routinely ran stories that were not quite, strictly speaking, true. Today, a firm boundary between fact and fakery is a hallmark of journalistic practice, yet for many readers and publishers across more than three centuries, this distinction has seemed slippery or even irrelevant. From fibs about royal incest in America's first newspaper to social-media-driven conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama's birthplace, Andie Tucher explores how American audiences have argued over what's real and what's not--and why that matters for democracy. Early American journalism was characterized by a hodgepodge of straightforward reporting, partisan broadsides, humbug, tall tales, and embellishment. Around the start of the twentieth century, journalists who were determined to improve the reputation of their craft established professional norms and the goal of objectivity. However, Tucher argues, the creation of outward forms of factuality unleashed new opportunities for falsehood: News doesn't have to be true as long as it looks true. Propaganda, disinformation, and advocacy--whether in print, on the radio, on television, or online--could be crafted to resemble the real thing. Dressed up in legitimate journalistic conventions, this "fake journalism" became inextricably bound up with right-wing politics, to the point where it has become an essential driver of political polarization. Shedding light on the long history of today's disputes over disinformation, Not Exactly Lying is a timely consideration of what happens to public life when news is not exactly true.
Political and civil discourse in the United States is characterized by "Truth Decay," defined as increasing disagreement about facts, a blurring of the line between opinion and fact, an increase in the relative volume of opinion compared with fact, and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information. This report explores the causes and wide-ranging consequences of Truth Decay and proposes strategies for further action.
Atlantic, 322(3), 64–70
"Artificial intelligence could erase many practical advantages of democracy and erode the ideals of liberty and equality. It will further concentrate power among a small elite if we don't take steps to stop it"
"Social media has changed life in America in a thousand ways, and nearly two out of three Americans now believe that these changes are for the worse. But academic researchers have not yet reached a consensus that social media is harmful. That's been a boon to social-media companies such as Meta, which argues, as did tobacco companies, that the science is not 'settled.' The lack of consensus leaves open the possibility that social media may not be very harmful. Perhaps we've fallen prey to yet another moral panic about a new technology and, as with television, we'll worry about it less after a few decades of conflicting studies. A different possibility is that social media is quite harmful but is changing too quickly for social scientists to capture its effects. "