Fake News, Disinformation and Media Manipulation:
How to Defend Against Them
Getty Images, 2021
Welcome to the LSU Manship School's Resource Guide to Fake News
Fake news, or purposely false stories masquerading as news, has infected American information for years, and fueled rumors and conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination, terrorist attacks and lately, vaccines. What threat do fakes, frauds and hoaxes pose to our democracy? What role did they play in the pandemic or attacks on the Capitol or rumors about election fraud?
We cannot answer all those questions but this guide is a curated collection of the leading research, tips and news reports on fake news, deep fake videos and the threats posed to our nation's information flows and elections.
See NewsGuard's Top 10 Disinformers and Top 10 Straight Shooters with the most online engagement. Where does your favorite news site fall?
Did social media play a role in the capitol insurrection on January 6th? Learn about social media's role in our lives and beliefs, with information from Netflix's hit documentary The Social Dilemma.
Trump and his allies continue to boost bogus conspiracy theories and far-right "news" sites in a bid to undermine the presidential election. President Trump and members of his campaign have advanced unfounded conspiracy theories claiming that Democrats rigged the 2020 Presidential election.
Fake news and misinformation can flourish in times of great anxiety and uncertainty.
To learn about coronavirus-related misinformation, visit COVID-19 page.
Test Your Media Literacy Skills!
Can you go 6 for 6?
Which social media platform currently is trying to maintain a hardline "free speech" approach regarding political content?
Which governmental entities have passed (or are considering) media literacy education? Select all that apply.
a. The United Kingdom
d. Washington state
a, The UK, c. California & d. Washington
In 2019, The United Kingdom’s cabinet secretaries announced that they would provide guidance for teaching media literacy to their students. California passed a law which requires media literacy resources to be available to students. Washington state is considering a media literacy bill, and Massachusetts successfully passed a bill so students can better “access, analyze and evaluate all types of media,” according to Media Literacy Now.
Which platforms said they would take down coronavirus misinformation that is dangerous to public health?
d. All of the Above
What percentage of Americans believe that social media does more to spread lies and falsehoods?
There is evidence that bot accounts account for over half of the Twitter conversation on some political topics?
Are social media companies technology companies or media companies?
a. Social Media companies
b. Media Companies
c. It’s Confusing!
c. It's Confusing!
Social media companies want to remain immune from legal consequences for user-generated content. They do not want to be treated like a newspaper. Section 230 of The 1996 Communications Decency Act shields third-party platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) from liability for user-generated content. Platforms, intent to keep the law unchanged, now face pressure from both political parties that want to change Section 230.
Are You Getting Faked Out?
Take the News Literacy Project's quiz on misinformation in the time of COVID-19, and see if you can tell fact from fiction.