Don’t get reeled in by fake news, speakers tell audience

Don’t get reeled in by fake news, speakers tell audience

Sandy Quadros Bowles reporter@dartmouthweek.net Emily Brown, left, and Susan Souza-Mort gives advice on how to avoid being taken in by fake news. Photo by: Sandy Quadros Bowles So-called fake news can have a real purpose: To sow discord and weaken democracy, two Bristol Community College researchers said Wednesday, Oct. 13 during a presentation at Southworth Library. Americans are bombarded with misinformation, much of it deliberately placed on social media, Emily Brown and Susan Souza-Mart told audience members. In their talk, they urged the public to digest information carefully before accepting it as accurate. During the 2016 election, 248 million Americans were exposed to fake news, they said during their presentation. The reason, they said, was power and control. “If I control the information you consume, I can control your attitudes, your beliefs, your behavior,’’ Brown said, in explaining the approach. Brown is Coordinator of Library Research and Instruction at Bristol Community College’s Fall River Campus. Her research interests include misinformation, self-radicalization, and foreign disinformation campaigns. Souza-Mort is a research and instruction librarian at the college’s New Bedford campus and runs the Open Educational Resources Program, which gives students access to free resources to save on textbook expenses. The two speak frequently about media literacy and misinformation. Brown said that countries such as China, Iran, and especially Russia deliberately offer inaccurate material through social media channels to create division. “Russia’s goal is to undermine Western democracy,” Brown said. They do this by placing information that does not necessarily back a […]

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