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On Our Radar: Algorithms, How Media Skepticism Can Make Us Even More Vulnerable to Misinformation, and More

Megan Healey Megan Healey
3rd May 2021
On Our Radar: Algorithms, How Media Skepticism Can Make Us Even More Vulnerable to Misinformation, and More

Note: The views and opinions expressed in blog/editorial posts are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the views or opinions of Misbar.

The conversation surrounding misinformation, fake news, and fact-checking is constantly evolving. As changing technology changes the way we take in information, new cultural and ethical considerations arise. Here is a collection of recent readings, podcasts, and other media we’ve highlighted from around the web that address the latest issues in fact-checking.

What We’re Reading:

A private school in Miami informed its teachers that if they choose to get vaccinated against Covid-19, they would have to stay away from students. The school’s co-founder said she believed that vaccinated people can pass the vaccine to others and cause reproductive issues. (These false claims have been widely debunked.)

This week, popular podcast host Joe Rogan casually shared misinformation about Covid vaccines. More and more public figures are sharing false claims and defending themselves by saying it’s only their opinions. This editorial debunks that defense. The author writes, “Skepticism is good and one should critically evaluate the information being received. But what often happens is that ‘thinking for oneself’ becomes a proxy for ‘believing what I want to believe.’” 

New studies show that Amazon’s algorithms inadvertently promote extremist misinformation. One such study found that 10% of search results under vaccine related terms included misinformation.

A Washington Post fact-check on the family history of Republican Senator Tim Scott drew criticism from both sides of the political spectrum this week. This kind of fact-check can be misleading, as data and census records differ from lived experience and family stories.

This author presents research that draws links between historic anti-science sentiment, and racial prejudice. 

What We’re Listening To: 

An interview with a journalist who covers life in America’s prisons on what it’s like to be cut off from news about the pandemic that could mean life and death.

This episode covers a senate judiciary meeting on how social media platforms’ design choices shape our conversations and our minds.

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

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