Final Essay Question Discussion

Recall the various kinds of misinformation outlined in Method’s chart (one of our earliest sources). After a semester of learning about fake news, which kind of fake news do you think is most damaging? Why?

  • This is a good question because we have used this chart multiple times throughout the class and we have discussed most, if not all, of the items on the chart and it would allow us to think about one particular item and explore it deeper.
  • I would personally go with satire because I find it the most interesting form on misinformation. I would draw back some of my own blog posts regarding satire while also incorporating some new information.
  • I would talk about how even though a main goal of satire is to be funny that it can also be damaging as people will believe satire which leads to the spreading of fake news. With Twitter all it can take is a fake name and profile picture and people will not look for that verified blue check mark.

Why do people neglect to do more research on news in general while all the information and tools are available to them?

  • This is a good question because there are many different ways to approach this so not everyone will have the exact same answer and it is fairly open ended so people will be able to say a lot in regards to the question.
  • I would discuss how people fall into the trap of needing to be the first one to say something or with reporters to be the first one to report something because then all of the attention will go to them. Because of a need to be the first to report breaking news, sometimes reports will sacrifice the potential of having some or all of the facts incorrect in order to get clicks, retweets, shares, etc.
  • Also I could talk about how people will not bother to fact check if an article agrees with their own views. People will just go along with something as long as it agrees with what they believe.

Think like a bot: imagine you are making big money writing fake news. Identify an audience and the cognitive biases you would use to create an effective news article.

  • This is a good question because it is a creative one and it is outside the box while also bringing up something discussed in class.
  • I would discuss my intended audience which would be sports fans and how to target biases with them. Then I would go into more specific details about the different biases/fan bases to target.
  • I would then do an outline of the article that I would do and potentially break down the different parts. Then I would go into some detail about the bot(s).

Based on your opinion, whose job is it to help stop the spread of fake news? (tech companies, journalists, people, bots)

  • I think this is a good question because even though this was already talked about in a class discussion, I feel that there is still more to be talked about with this topic.
  • I would go with people since the viewing public can help stop the spread of fake news by simply not reading it and calling out the journalists that create it. The tech companies can only do so much when it comes to the fake news problem because they cannot just disallow people to post article links.
  • I would also take looks at other sides while also sticking to my view that readers are the leaders in the fight against fake news. I would also reference some articles like this one.

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