07 September 2017

Fake News: Questions and Resources for Back to Class and All Year Round

Ah, fake news.  As a phenomenon, its truthiness is both fascinating (from an epistemological perspective, at least) and highly troubling (from the perspective of anyone who cares about information literacy, quality research, social justice, ...). Many anthropologists and others have spent a lot of time not only countering fake news messages -- the recently infamous Google Memo is a good example -- but trying to understand how and why fake news works. For instance, take Scientific American's Anthropology in Practice articles on "Understanding The Social Capital of Fake News" (28 November 2016) and "Three Historical Examples of "Fake News"" (1 December 2016).

Discerning valid arguments based on evidence from what might be called "fake news" has always been an important part of a university education. Yet, the challenges we face in how we teach this kind of critical thinking seem to be becoming ever more difficult in the current climate and through the proliferation of messages in our contemporary media.

Luckily, hardworking librarians exist to help uphold information literacy teaching and learning, like those at the Toronto Public Library. Toronto librarians have put together an accessible page on How to Spot Fake News that poses important questions to consider (and why to consider them) when assessing the validity of a message, article, post, or news site, as well as links to additional resources. While some of these additional resources are available only to TPL patrons, many more are accessible to anyone, such as this list of Research Guides:
Now that you are armed with these great resources and questions, happy back to class!

Quick Links and further reading:
Updated 14 January 2018