What is media literacy? ‘Information and knowledge are not free from bias or inherent values.’ that is why we need: Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act on using all forms of communication. Media literacy includes the ability to recognize messages in various forms, understand how messages can affect people differently and be thoughtful about what content and media to share.
Media literacy can help people be effective and informed consumers and creators of media content in a global society.
Learning objective: You will be able to identify and evaluate the credibility of digital sources (including verifying sources, identifying bias, misinformation, manipulated media and evaluating searches).
A credible source of information is one (an expert) that provides accurate information based on sound evidence. However, sources often have strengths and weaknesses. This is why it’s helpful to learn different strategies for evaluating information, particularly online information found through social media and web searches.
Digital media literacy skills and techniques can help you know how to critically evaluate information and sources for potential bias or misinformation.
People turn to a variety of search engines and social media platforms to find information on the internet. These each uses an algorithm—a set of computer-programmed instructions to complete a task—to return unique results based on a combination of factors such as your geographic location, other searches on similar topics, your own past searches, and the level of detail in your search query.
These algorithms are complex and return thousands or millions of results in seconds (or fractions of a second).
Top results in a web search should be assessed for credibility as some may be paid for by companies or other organizations to promote their products or services. Words such as ‘Ad’ or ‘Sponsored Results’ normally appear at the top of such pages. A content may look and sound legitimate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is credible or accurate. Sometimes, information sources are trying to spread disinformation or misinformation. When in doubt, look for other sources to corroborate the claim before sharing it out.
Is this the original content source?
Who captured or created this content?
When was the content captured or created?
Where was this content captured or created?
Why was the content captured or created?
Sometimes you may want to check the original source of an image file. One way to do that is to conduct a reverse image search. Just as you may search for other types of online media, you can also search for image files using a search engine.
Misinformation is content that is false or misleading.
Disinformation is false or misleading information created or shared with malicious intent to cause harm, manipulate or mislead an individual, group or organization.
Confirmation bias is the tendency we have to consume information in a way that supports our existing beliefs. It can influence how we find, interpret, share, and recall information. When credible information challenges our existing beliefs, it is more difficult to accept that information as true. Because of this, confirmation bias can influence the spread of disinformation and misinformation.
The first step is awareness. Once you are aware of potential confirmation bias, you can begin to work against it. The next step is to actively engage with diverse perspectives and information from a wide variety of credible sources. Think objectively about all content and information sources, regardless of your personal opinions. This will help you to pause and think about the credibility and reliability of a source before sharing it with others.
An echo chamber is a setting in which an individual only interacts with content or information that reflects and reinforces their own opinions. Echo chambers are influenced by confirmation bias and aided by algorithms that deliver content recommendations based on previous media consumption. Echo chambers can distort someone’s perspective to the point that they are unable or find it difficult to consider different viewpoints and thoughtfully discuss complicated issues. They can also reinforce misinformation that supports one’s deeply held beliefs. Echo chambers happen anywhere people exchange information. However, they are common online because it is easy to find like-minded people and perspectives with search engines and social media tools, which are designed to facilitate quick results based on user preferences.
Seven common types of deceptive online information from misinformation to disinformation:
Satire is using a comedic point of view to comment on current events, human nature or other social topics. Satire can be a healthy part of communication, but out of context, it can be used to mislead.
also known as clickbait, this type of deceptive information uses sensational images or language to entice individuals to click on an article, subscribe or follow a page or profile but they do not match the content.
Content that is true but used in a misleading way.
False or misleading content that is designed to look as if it is from a reputable organization or source but is actually not.
True content that is shared with false contextual information.
True content, including imagery, that is altered to be misleading.
Content that is 100% fake or false. In the next section, you will learn about deepfakes.
Learn more about why you may be asked to give feedback about something on Facebook.
Online advertising uses a variety of strategies to get people to click on advertisements or engage with products and services. Some of these strategies include clickbait headlines, endorsements and sponsored posts. You can take control of the ads you see by adjusting your ad preferences.
Clickbait uses sensationalized or emotive headlines and images to draw your attention and entice you to click on content. It can be found on blogs or social media, but legitimate news sources use it.
Signs of a clickbait
You Won’t Believe What ….
12 Amazing Facts! or 19 Unbelievable …
Titles that tell you how to feel or think rather than letting you make your own decisions
Endorsements are when companies pay people to advertise their products on their own social media profiles through sponsored posts.
Sponsored content is an advertisement that is made to look like an impartial information source or news article. Online news sites publish sponsored content, and it is also present on social media and on influencers’ accounts. You can adjust your Ad preferences on social media: Ad preferences on Facebook and Ad preferences on Instagram
Learning objective: You will be able to raise awareness and/or report suspected misinformation.
Disinformation and misinformation can play to people’s emotions through several strategies that can make it difficult to tell the difference between fact and opinion: Attacks Flattery or deceptively inclusive language Presenting evidence to make disinformation sound more believable, but using it out of context Telling personal stories Be an emotional skeptic. When information plays to your emotions or gives you a strong emotional reaction, be wary. Before reacting, pause and think about what the information might be trying to do. Use media literacy techniques to evaluate that information source.
Removes any content that violates Facebook’s community standards
Reduces the impact of false or misleading content by demoting it in News Feed or search results.
Uses independent fact-checkers to review content and provides notifications and warning labels for questionable content.
Develop your media literacy skills, help others develop it and stop the spread of misinformation. But talking about misinformation can be challenging, especially with family and friends.
If a friend or family member is sharing misinformation
Even when you are diligent with critically evaluating sources, you might still end up sharing misinformation. Here are some strategies to help correct the record:
Make a “truth sandwich.” state the truth first and then the error—only to provide context—and then reinforce the truth. People tend to remember repeated information.
Be proactive. If you encounter misinformation on social media, use a platform’s reporting tools to report the post or profile.
Share credible sources. Provide links to resources with credible and reliable information about the topic.
Think about something you have shared recently online. Did you verify it or pause to think about its potential impact before sharing?
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