Today, the prevalence of social media, the rise of algorithms, filter bubbles, “bots”, and international hacking efforts have brought the issue of “fake news” to the forefront of our national and international consciousness.

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Today, the prevalence of social media, the rise of algorithms, filter bubbles, “bots”, and international hacking efforts have brought the issue of “fake news” to the forefront of our national and international consciousness. As you read in the webtext this week, the spread of misinformation is not an entirely new problem and it does not have one simple solution. However, there are changes all information consumers can make to how they engage with stories, facts, and data that can lead us from a “post-truth” world to a “pro-truth” world.

Begin by reading pages 4.1-4.6 of Chapter 4, reading Katy Steinmetz’s How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News (Links to an external site.)”, and viewing all of Professor Alex Edmans’ TED Talk “What to Trust in a ‘Post-Truth’ World”, below.

Edmans, Al. (2018). What to trust in a “post-truth” world (Links to an external site.). TedTalk. [Video: 17:40 minutes]. Transcripts.

Discussion Instructions

Initial post: By Thursday of Module 4, create an initial post that responds to each of the prompts below:

  • Edmans argues that confirmation bias causes us to believe information that confirms our point of view, which sometimes leads to accepting and sharing information that is fake, misleading, or misrepresentative. Think of an example of this from your own life. How did confirmation bias shape your understanding of an issue?
  • Give some specific strategies to explain how we can move beyond confirmation bias to make sure what we’re accepting and sharing is true.
  • Who do you think bears the primary responsibility for stopping the spread of fake news, information consumers, information producers, or the government?

Your post should include at least one outside source (and an accompanying citation) to support your points.

You will not be able to see posts written by your classmates until you create your initial post.

Replies: From Friday through Sunday of Module 4, reply to your classmates’ initial posts and engage with them in a conversation about the future of this topic. Do you think the problem of confirmation bias and “fake news” is likely to get better or worse in the future? Why? Please be sure to reply to at least two of your peers’ posts.

Evaluation

  • This discussion will be graded according to the Cornerstone Discussion Board Rubric. Review the rubric and Discussion Board Expectations in advance to know how you will be assessed.
  • All discussion boards combined are worth 20% of your course grade.

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