Fighting the fake, finding the facts

2017-09-19 04:39:52

ILI has dedicated a whole track this year to the topical issue of fake news, covering everything from search implications to teaching students about information integrity.

Chaired by Terence Huwe, an invited expert panel will also consider the fake news phenomenon and explore the implications for the internet librarian and information professional.

Terence Huwe comments: "The proliferation of fake news is alarming for anyone who cares about responsible media. But that distress can be a double-edged sword: it rightly spurs us to action with a sense of urgency, yet urgency can distract us from studying the political context that allows fake news to thrive. So urgency alone is not enough; a review of political history is also crucial. 

  "Fake news is by no means a new development; indeed it is ever with us. In the US, the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and the "Iran-Contra Affair" were influenced by chaotic media and ideological pressure, just as we see nowadays. History reveals many other examples, such as European politics during the pre-war years of the 1930s, and the civic politics of Italian Renaissance, which formed Machiavelli's viewpoint on government. In both cases the turbulent times lent power to the fabrication of falsehoods, fake storylines and other propaganda vehicles--and they worked just as well at an analog pace as they do in the digital era.

  "The first step in understanding how to counter fake news is view the entire social and political contexts that drive its power, and that requires a cool head. The second step is to look to those institutions--such as libraries--that stand like bulwarks against the endless churn of automated storylines and half-truths. The third step it to push those bulwarks forward, directly into hurly burly of political life--where factual accountability matters the most."

ILI's track, Fight the Fake, Find the Facts, runs throughout Day 2 on Wednesday 18 October.

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