Week 9 – Fake News

It’s fascinating for me to think about how my intake of media has changed and evolved throughout my life. In fact, I think that Jordan’s sharing of the “Filter Bubble” idea and article really spoke to me and allowed me to view my media intake through a new lens. I’ve realized that as I have grown and changed, so has my filter bubble and the media inside it.

At present, when I think of the places where I get my “news” so to speak, that is essentially exclusively through social media. The only social media I actively use these days are Instagram and Twitter, and twitter (I refuse to use that ridiculous new name) in particular is a main source of news and information. Now, I realize like with everything on the internet I need to approach the things I read on social media with some healthy dose of skepticism. That being said, I firmly believe that the filter bubble I have consciously (and unconsciously) placed myself in provides me with accurate and reliable information. I have pretty consistent left wing political views and approaches to life. The content that I consume reflects that. I’m aware that puts me in a filter bubble of content that isn’t showing me other perspectives on situations, but I don’t inherently see anything wrong with that. I think there is a stigma of sorts that we should avoid being in our “bubble”. Although in our class discussion, my group talked lots about how these types of social bubbles existed long before the internet and are a very natural form of human communication. You instinctively seek others out who reflect your values. I don’t believe that all issues require us to “hear both sides”. I don’t see the value in listening or consuming violent and harmful rhetoric, so why bother?

When I think of the articles that we discussed this week, particularly Jordan’s and Kim’s I’m grateful that I was not sucked into a spiral of fake news and disinformation. When I think of the alt-right pipeline, I’m kind of the perfect target – twenty-something cis white male. I was lucky enough to have positive influences around me that made sure going down that path was never possible in the first place. I don’t mean to say that a lack of positive influence is what leads to these dangerous beliefs – I’m sure despite the best intentions of parents and other loved ones individuals still fall down dangerous rabbit holes.

I think to a certain extent the ability to separate fact from fiction on the internet is a matter of practice, like anything else in life. As someone who has grown up with the internet and certainly spent a great deal of my teenage years as an “Very Online Guy” (shout out to Alvvays), I feel that a lifetime’s worth of encountering B.S. on the internet has somewhat trained my brain to detect it better. And as many of us recall, B.S. used to be a lot easier to spot, making the training much more effective (who could forget images that often looked like this from the early 2010’s)

Has science gone too far? [pic] : r/funny

However, today’s young people are being ‘trained’ on MUCH more sophisticated B.S. Super-B.S., if you will. They are no longer being asked if this seagull with human arms is real. They’re being asked to determine whether or not footage of political figures making any statement under the sun is in fact, factual.

Experts warn 'deepfakes' videos of politicians could be manipulated | Daily  Mail Online

I worry that this in turn leads to a less developed sense of media literacy than older Gen-Z and millennial compatriots have had a chance to build. On the other hand, the fact that it takes such a strong B.S. detector to analyze images might have a more positive effect than before.

Curious to hear your thoughts!

4 thoughts on “Week 9 – Fake News

  1. Your awareness of the filter bubble you’ve surrounded yourself with, characterized by left-wing political views, raises important questions about the balance between staying true to your values and being open to diverse perspectives. It’s a valid point that not all issues necessarily require hearing both sides, especially when dealing with harmful rhetoric. However, acknowledging the existence of a filter bubble is a crucial step toward fostering a more nuanced understanding of the media landscape.

  2. Hello Cole! I hear you loud and clear. When teaching media literacy skills, I start with “fact or fiction” strategies where I allow my students a space to look at true facts: WHO Covid 19 data, SIFT strategy on their website. I balance this teaching with true fiction/fake news: Did China Steal Coronavirus from Canada and Weaponize It? (also on the WHO website)
    We did this lesson the other day!
    When I read the article title (above) the first reaction I got was loud laughter from my class. LOL
    Media literacy skills of separating fact from fiction and making intelligent decisions is hard for teenagers to process. They live in a social world that is filtered through their online identity. I also appreciated the information on “filter bubbles”, that we can customize or censor the online content we consume. Looking at the world from a personal lens is not a bad thing right? (rhetorical).

    Lately, I have been consumed with the Buffy Saint-Marie “pretendian” controversy because of my roots; I was born and raised on the Piapot First Nation and remain closely tied to the community. When I am asked to be honest with my views, I feel on guard because any response will illicit serious conversations. Do I believe there are individual “pretendians”? Yes, of course there are many who claim Indigenous ancestry, often for political or media gain.
    My personal response is just that, “personal”. I don’t think that I have to justify (post) my personal views online to sensitive topics. That is my filtered, online presence…we all have one!

    Before the online social world, we all had physical or mental “filter bubbles”, which we guarded and censored in real time. We need to teach our students that our online, digital identity should/can be a reflection of their true selves.
    Thank you for your thoughtful post Cole!

  3. Great post Cole! It is great that you are aware of the filter bubble you have. I think it is important for us to only see things that interest us and you’re right why do we have to learn about things violence if that’s something that were not interested in? I think just being aware of those and not actually letting it get into our filter bubble is good.
    What really stood out for me last class was Deep fake. I’ve heard of it but never actually knew what it all really entailed! Wow! I think of my own kids, how will they know if something is real or fake? We do have to teach kids these day how to have BS detectors.

  4. I agree with you Cole that not everyone wants to engage with hateful rhetoric; sometimes I don’t think there is another “side” to see when it comes to inclusion, supporting the rights of others, etc. However, I do think there is some value in investigating the motivations of those at the extreme end of the spectrum. Understanding the playbook of those who seek to divide us using “fake news” or hate gives us clues on how to rebut their arguments and resist their messaging.

    By the way, your term “Super-BS” is now being added to my daily lexicon. The quality of the tools available and their relatively low barrier to entry is staggering. 5 years ago you would have had to been into graphic design and visual effects to make some of these things reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *