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Please answer the underlined questions based on the following article in 200 words or more for each question.
According to the Pew Research Center (2017), some experts state that the information environment will improve partly because “technology will help label, filter or ban misinformation” (p. 6). Facebook is developing technology to weed out non-credible sources.
- How much of the job of filtering out non-credible sources can technology do right now? For what reasons?
- If technology can’t do the entire job, who else is responsible for filtering out non-credible sources, and what do they need to do?
On February 14, 2018, students at Marie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, FL, experienced a mass shooting. Soon afterward, news about Scot Peterson’s role as a security guard broke.
- Different people have their own opinions about whether Scot Peterson fulfilled his professional duty during the shooting. Recall what your opinion might have been before the start of this week. How, if at all, has your opinion changed? Justify your answer with at least 2 facts, citing your sources. Exclude speculation.
- A lot of media coverage has focused on Scot Peterson. Of all of it, what percentage do you guesstimate provides facts?
- How certain are you of your conclusion about Scot Peterson? If you have any uncertainty, what would you need to see or hear to be able to draw a definite conclusion?
The following readings and videos warn that as people rely ever more on digital media for information, they are increasingly vulnerable to misinformation that can affect what they know, think, believe, and do. Companies such as Facebook are creating technologies to help people identify credible information sources. But how effective are the technologies? And if they aren’t completely effective—and won’t be even sufficiently effective any time soon, how can you sort through the morass of information when the traditional cues indicating credibility no longer exist? Part of your discussion will draw from these readings and videos, so I recommend that you review the discussion questions before going through the materials.
- Pew Research Center. (2017). The future of truth and misinformation online. Retrieved from http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/s… (focus on pp. 2-6)
- Laslo, M. (2018, January 16). The latest front in fake news is streaming on Netflix. Think. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/latest-front… (read all 2 pages)
- O’Brien, M. (2018, April 25). How Facebook’s news feed can be fooled into spreading misinformation. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-facebooks-ne… (11:20)
- O’Brien, M. (2018, May 9). Why we love to like junk news that reaffirms our beliefs. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/why-we-love-liki… (9:17)
- O’Brien, M. (2018, May 16). Inside Facebook’s race to separate news from junk. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/inside-facebooks… (11:04)
- Shaheem, Y., Whitehead, R., & Tangney, P. (2017). A guide to information credibility in a “post-truth” world. Retrieved from http://flinders.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=29… (read all 4 pages)
- Davis, W. (2016, December 5). Fake or real? How to self-check the news and get the facts. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/201… (read all 5 pages)
Even when you identify credible information sources, such as journal and newspaper articles, you must recognize that even they are fallible and thus be able to distinguish between what is fact and what is not fact. The following video and readings present a case study of public scrutiny of Scot Peterson’s role as a security guard during the mass shooting at Marie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, FL, on February 14, 2018. Part of your discussion will draw from these readings and videos, so I recommend that you review the discussion questions before reviewing the materials.
- CBS Miami. (2018, February 22). Broward sheriff Scott Israel provides additional details about response to Parkland school shooting [Online video]. Retrieved from (watch all 11:53)
- DiRuzzo, J. A. (2018, February 26). [Memo to the South Florida Community and the American Public]. Retrieved from https://wsvn.com/news/local/scot-petersons-full-st… (read all 2 pages)
- Flores, R. (2018, April 20). Broward county sheriff Scott Israel to face no-confidence vote from his own deputies. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/20/us/broward-sheriff-… (read all 3 pages)
- Saslow, E. (2018, June 4).”It was my job, and I didn’t find him”: Stoneman Douglas resource officer remains haunted by massacre. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/it-was-my-… (read all 8 pages)
The following podcast returns to a journalistic series by O’Brien (2018). He interviews Cyrus Massoumi, one of the pioneers of fake news. While it’s interesting to hear about how he earns money, it’s even more important to recognize that, regardless of whether you agree with his beliefs and actions, he identifies as a marketer (i.e., communication professional) and bases his professional decisions on his own set of values. Part of your journal entry will draw from this podcast, so I recommend that you review the journal questions before hearing the podcast (select journal entry from the lesson navigation menu).
- O’Brien, M. (2018, May 2). A junk news pioneer–with Cyrus Massoumi, part 1. Retrieved from https://milesobrien.com/junk-news-pioneer-cyrus-ma… (This is 55:00, so listening to the first and last sections will be fine)
- O’Brien, M. (2018, May 3). A junk news pioneer–with Cyrus Massoumi, part 2. Retrieved from https://milesobrien.com/junk-news-pioneer-cyrus-ma… (This is also long, at 54:00–if you can listen to most of it that would help but the first and last segment will suffice)
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