Combating Fake News in the Digital Age

Burkhardt, Joanna M.
November 2017
Library Technology Reports;Nov/Dec2017, Vol. 53 Issue 8, preceding p5
Academic Journal
The issue of fake news has become very prominent in recent months. Its power to mislead and misinform has been made evident around the world. While fake news is not a new phenomenon, the means by which it is spread has changed in both speed and magnitude. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are fertile ground for the spread of fake news. Algorithms known as bots are increasingly being deployed to manipulate information, to disrupt social media communication, and to gain user attention. While technological assistance to identify fake news are beginning to appear, they are in their infancy. It will take time for programmers to create software that can recognize and tag fake news without human intervention. Even if technology can help to identify fake news in the future, those who seek to create and provide fake news will also be creating the means to continue, creating a loop in which those who want to avoid fake news are always playing catch up. Individuals have the responsibility to protect themselves from fake news. It is essential to teach ourselves and our students and patrons to be critical consumers of news. This issue of Library Technology Reports (vol. 53, no. 8), "Combating Fake News in the Digital Age," is for librarians who serve all age levels and who can help by teaching students both that they need to be aware and how to be aware of fake news. Library instruction in how to avoid fake news, how to identify fake news, and how to stop fake news will be essential.


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