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Fake News & Fake Facts: Media Literacy Awareness

Learn how language can be used to in a way that it affects the way people perceive reality. Unlike real news, whose purpose is to simply inform, the main purpose of disinformation is to confuse and manipulate people.

Human Vulnerabiltiies

“Something future historians will struggle to explain is that, in the 21st century, all of human knowledge became instantly available to anyone in the world, and the primary effect was to make everyone dumber.” - David Roberts (Independent Journalist)


Reasons Why We Are Vulnerable to Fake News

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  • short attention-spans​

  • prefer simplicity over complexity​

  • willful ignorance​ (choose not to know)

  • feel or react first, think second 

  • comfort over stress


Seeing the same messages over and over and over can lead some to tune out, but it may also boost confidence that the content is truthful. Repetition can lead to familiarity, which increases acceptance -- especially when alternate voices are ignored or silenced. -  Why Do People Believe Liars?” - Ruth Ben-Ghiatt 


Who Believes Fake News?







  • People who fear uncertainty.
  • People who are fearful and desperate.
  • People who trust their intuition or gut over fact or scientific data.
  • People who choose to ignore politics and other serious and consequential circumstances.
  • People who mistrust expertise, education, or experience in favor of the opinion of friends and family.
  • People who have difficult time rejecting misinformation- ego or ingrained beliefs.
  • People who are intolerant toward persons not like them.
  • People who unquestioningly accept all authority.

Types of Information Disorder

Information Disorder

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Claire Wardle, a world-renowned expert in this field, has used “information disorder” as an umbrella term for the various types of false, misleading, manipulated, or deceptive information we have seen flourish in recent years.


Graphic - Types of information Disorder



Unintentional mistakes such as inaccurate photo captions, dates, statistics, translations, or when satire is taken seriously.


Fabricated or deliberately manipulated audio/visual content. Intentionally created conspiracy theories or rumours.


Deliberate publication of private information for personal or corporate rather than public interest, such as revenge porn. Deliberate change of context, date or time of genuine content.

Trustworthiness of Online Content

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In an information environment shaped by pervasive algorithms, the attention economy, engagement, and polarization, how do we determine truth?

How do we know which sources of information to trust? These questions are becoming increasingly difficult to answer, and even more so as “disinformation that is designed to provoke an emotional reaction can flourish in these spaces” (Wardle).

A 2020 study from Project Information Literacy confirms that the way information is delivered today—with opinion and propaganda mingled with traditional news sources, and with algorithms highlighting sources based on engagement rather than quality—has left many college students concerned about the trustworthiness of online content.

Students reported that it was difficult to know where to place their trust when credible sources are buried by a deluge of poorer-quality content and misinformation.

One student noted that “it’s not that we’re lacking credible information. It’s that we’re drowning in like a sea of all these different points out there” (Head et al. 20).

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