Monday, 3 July 2017

Post-truth and fake news - what is the problem?

Post-truth is one of the words added to then latest edition of the Oxford English dictionary. from its entry some early instances are

'1985 Sunday Mail (Brisbane) 1 Sept. State Cabinet..went into post-truth trauma '

in 1992 Nation refers to dictators as wanting a post truth world.

subscribers can view the full entry via the OED
According to Robert Darnton, Professor of History and University Librarian Emeritus at Harvard.The tradition can be traced back to the Byzantine empire, but its real origins can be found in early newspaper journalism in 18th century London and Paris. Listen to his podcast via ABC. Net Australia.

of course post -truth is linked to the phenomenon of fake news which has filled the headlines recently.

Fake News

The 2017 Reuters Digital News report dedicated a whole section to the topic and discusses the impact on trust in the media

A recent zignal labsreport has also surveyed users on their experiences

the New York based institute Data and society published a report Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online which examined the phenomenon. It stated that over reliance by news outlets on social media ‘novelty over newsworthiness’ makes them vulnerable to extremist viewpoints.
studies have shown that students often have difficulty evaluating the truth of resources

Tracking fake news

The field Guide to Fake News – is a project of First Draft is exploring explores the use of digital methods to trace the production, circulation and reception of fake news online. Sample chapters can be downloaded free online these cover such topics as how Facebook propagates fake news and how to trace the circulation of fake news online

Hoaxy from the University of Indiana visualises the spread of fake news stories online

Shorenstein Center has recently published an agenda for action based on the outcome of a conference held in February

For more background on why this is believed to be necessary try the recent Reuters report on fact checking sites in Europe

Fact checking guides.

Guides for journalists and members of the public include Amnesty International stop fake – how to verify Youtube videos guide from the Annenberg center

Useful fact checking sites include: Full fact for the Uk (USA) which is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Politifact truth o meter from USA

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