Events Calendar
Media in the Anthropocene
January 23, 2019
This is Your Data Double
January 29, 2019

The Faked Death of Real News: Why Delusion is Here to Stay

Thursday, January 11, 2018
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
FIMS and Nursing Building (FNB)
Room: 4130

Presented by Andrew Woods, Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism.

With responses by Dr. Victoria Rubin and Dylan Hughes.

Abstract: Mark Zuckerberg revealed earlier this year that Facebook would launch a scheme to combat the proliferation of Fake News. “Disputed” tags would be attached to news stories that have been discredited by Snopes or Associated Press. I assert that this initiative fails to tackle Fake News for three key reasons. First, I expand on Paul Virilio’s idea of “reflex democracy” to explain that some users do not believe that Facebook is politically neutral and, therefore, they ignore the disputation if it contradicts their own views and biases. Second, I build on Jean Baudrillard’s conception of media as the “expulsion of the human” and Slavoj Zizek’s notion of “interpassivity” to argue that disputed tags outsource our ability to distinguish between facts and fabrications and thus make people more susceptible to believe untrue articles. Finally, I show that the spread of fraudulent articles over social media platforms—most notably, the Irish Slave Trade story—is so rapid that disputed tags are only added to the story once it has been read and shared by thousands of users. I conclude that technological answers to Fake News—like disputed tags—are unpersuasive, unhelpful, and too slow, as well as propose a few alternative solutions.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
Becky Blue

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