Published By: PRI (Public Radio International), 12/10/2016
Fake news stories shared on social media played a major role in the spread of misinformation during the 2016 U.S. elections and after, even spurring individuals into taking dangerous action. Google and Facebook have pledged to discourage known fake news, for example by limiting advertising. However, many argue for more fundamental measures, to address the underlying issue that services like Facebook are built around showing users what they want to see.
Extended Discussion Questions
- Do social media services have an ethical responsibility to filter fake news from their sites? Why or why not?
- What about search engines like Google News? What is their responsibility?
- When CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is just a technology company, what does he mean by that? Do you agree or disagree?
- In what ways is a social media site like Facebook similar to a news media outlet? In what ways is it different?
- Is there a conflict of interest between the censoring of known fake news stories and the job of social media sites to show users content that they are interested in? If so, what are some ways it could be resolved? If not, why not?
“The Saga of ‘Pizzagate’: The Fake News Story That Shows How Conspiracy Theories Spread“
Published By: BBC News, 12/2/2016 || View the Article
Provides a recent example of harm caused by fake news spread on social media.
Content Advisory: The fake news involves allegations of child sex abuse.
Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework
Global Impact Learning Objectives:
- LO 7.1.1 Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
- LO 7.4.1 Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.
- LO 7.5.2 Evaluate online and print sources for appropriateness and credibility.
Global Impact Essential Knowledge:
- EK 7.1.1C Social media continues to evolve and fosters new ways to communicate.
- EK 7.1.1H Social media, such as blogs and Twitter, have enhanced dissemination.
- EK 7.3.1A Innovations enabled by computing raise legal and ethical concerns.
- EK 7.5.2A Determining the credibility of a source requires considering and evaluating the reputation and credentials of the author(s), publisher(s), site owner(s), and/or sponsor(s).
Other CSP Big Ideas:
- Idea 6 The Internet
Banner Image: “Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop”, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0