Truthiness in Digital Media: A Symposium Addressing Propaganda & Misinformation Online


As the networked media environment increasingly permeates private and public life, driven in part by the rapid and extensive travels of news, information and commentary, our systems for identifying and responding to misinformation and propaganda are failing us [emphasis added], creating serious risk to everything from personal and financial health, to fundamental democratic processes and governance.  – About Truthiness in Digital Media


Unimaginable are mere decade ago, today we find ourselves in “an increasingly connected world where social networking has made us all news sources, that means missteps and misinformation get issued — and repeated — more quickly than ever.” At CiviliNation we therefore regularly emphasize the need for an informed citizenry that is able to apply strong critical thinking skills to the increasingly important task of separating fact from fiction, especially online.

That’s why we were excited to see a conference taking place this week that focused on these issues, “Truthiness in Digital Media: a symposium that seeks to understand and address propaganda and misinformation in the new media ecosystem” which was organized by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the MIT Center for Civic Media.

The conference brought together individuals from the technology, media, communications, political science, computer science, non-profit and legal fields, among others, for two days of sharing ideas “with an eye to crafting tools and strategies to ameliorate the negative impacts of deception, bias, and inaccuracy in the digital media ecosystem.

Check out the symposium’s blog for information about sessions on Interventions for Institutions: Filters, Intermediaries, and PoliciesInterventions for Individuals which explored “tools, skills, and strategies that can help individuals assess the veracity and spin of online media sources,” Tweets, TV & Politics,  Information Forensics: Five Case Studies on How to Verify Crowdsourced Information from Social Media and others, among them the particularly interesting Biases Abound: We Can’t Handle (or Don’t Want) the Truth / Inflection Point led by science and political journalist Chris Mooney, which focused “on the human side of the problem and the limitations that our own behaviors, biases, and patterns can have on our ability, willingness, and motivation to process information.”



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