The Misinformation Age, written for a political era riven by “fake news,” “alternative facts,” and disputes over the validity of everything from climate change to the size of inauguration crowds, shows convincingly that what you believe depends on who you know. If social forces explain the persistence of false belief, we must understand how those forces work in order to fight misinformation effectively.
Sources are vital building blocks of news because they provide the facts of news stories. In the Internet age, as more readers consume news on various websites and social media platforms, it is important for young readers to be able to determine which sources qualify as good sources of information and which qualify as nothing more than misinformation or rumors. This book helps young readers to explore the sources of their information, defines what both good and bad sources are, and teaches young readers why it is important to ask themselves, "Are these good sources of information?"
In this special collaboration with NPR's Life Kit the NPR Politics team breaks down what misinformation is and how you can spot it. This episode: Congressional correspondent Susan Davis, political reporter Miles Parks, and national security editor Philip Ewing.
Jacob Ward, host of 'Hacking Your Mind,' tells us why humans are so easily manipulated by corporations and politicians, and what we can do about it.
TOOLS TO FIGHT MISINFORMATION
Adblock Plus is a browser extension and app that blocks advertisements and websites through the use of filtering lists. The tool automatically whitelists ads that meet the "acceptable ads" standards — so ads can avoid being blocked on this platform by adhering to those standards. Users can opt out of even these ads by adjusting the default settings. The tool, while initially an adblocker, has increasingly seen itself as a way for users to protect themselves not only from harmful ads, but also from other harmful sites, including those that spread disinformation.
Bot Sentinel is a free platform developed to detect and track trollbots and untrustworthy Twitter accounts. Bot Sentinel uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to study Twitter accounts, to classify them as trustworthy or untrustworthy, and to identify bots. It then stores those accounts in a database to track each account daily. Developers use the data they collect to explore the effect of bots and their propaganda on discourse and to explore ways to counter the spread of bots and the information they disseminate. Classifying untrustworthy accounts is a manual process. They review hundreds of tweets and retweets during the review process. If an account has a large number of followers and a high percentage of misleading and/or factually incorrect tweets, they might classify that account as untrustworthy.