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Fake News in Digital Culture

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Talk on fake news as digital culture given at the Institute for Policy Research symposium on Politics, Fake News and the Post-Truth Era, University of Bath, 14 September 2017.

More about the talk here: http://lilianabounegru.org/2017/09/23/fake-news-in-digital-culture-at-2017-institute-for-policy-research-symposium/

More about the event here: http://www.bath.ac.uk/events/politics-fake-news-and-the-post-truth-era/


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Fake News in Digital Culture

  1. 1. Fake News in Digital Culture Liliana Bounegru (@bb_liliana) Ghent University and University of Groningen Digital Methods Initiative Public Data Lab
  2. 2. 1 Liliana Bounegru Jonathan Gray Tommaso Venturini Michele Mauri COMPILED BY A COLLECTION OF RECIPES FOR THOSE WHO LOVE TO COOK WITH DIGITAL METHODS Five Provocations about Fake News Liliana Bounegru, Mette Simonsen Abildgaard, Andreas Birkbak, Jonathan Gray, Mathieu Jacomy, Torben Elgaard Jensen, Anders Koed Madsen and Anders Kristian Munk Abstract The 2016 US presidential election has brought fake news into intense media scrutiny. Some of these narratives embraced an information “transmission” view whereby the spread of fake news was likened to that of biological phenomena such as viruses and where deficient publics were portrayed as agents of pathological diffusion on social media platforms. In response, a range of solutions, from fact-checking to technological fixes, have embraced an information deficit model whereby warnings and corrections of misleading content have been issued to curb these worrying dynamics. In this article we contend that fake news is a socio-technical phenomenon that encapsulates central aspects of our digital environments and cultures and propose five provocations to enrich current debates around it. These are: (1) there is more to fake news than publics in need of better education and information; (2) metaphors matter and fake news is not just a virus in search of a host; (3) the success of fake news highlights the precarity of our knowledge-making institutions and practices; (4) to better understand fake news we should study their production histories and social lives; and (5) responses to fake news should strive to go beyond fact-checking and technological fixes. To stimulate future research each provocation is accompanied by a series of insights, concepts and approaches drawing on research in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and associated fields. We hope that these provocations and analytical lenses will inform research, reflection and interventions around this digital culture phenomenon which are better attuned to its dynamics. Keywords: fake news; STS (science and technology studies); fact checking; journalism; Trump election; social media
  3. 3. (1) There is more to fake news than publics in need of better education and information. (2) Metaphors matter and fake news is not just a virus in search of a host. (3) The success of fake news highlights the precarity of our knowledge-making institutions and practices. (4) To better understand fake news we should study their production histories and social lives. (5) Responses to fake news should strive to go beyond fact-checking and technological fixes. FIVE PROVOCATIONS ABOUT FAKE NEWS (Bounegru, Abildgaard, Birkbak, Gray, Jacomy, Jensen, Madsen & Munk, forthcoming)
  4. 4. FAKE NEWS IS NOT JUST A VIRUS AND ITS READERS ARE NOT JUST LACKING BETTER INFORMATION OR EDUCATION
  5. 5. 1 Liliana Bounegru Jonathan Gray Tommaso Venturini Michele Mauri COMPILED BY A COLLECTION OF RECIPES FOR THOSE WHO LOVE TO COOK WITH DIGITAL METHODS
  6. 6. PUTTING CONTENT INTO CONTEXT WITH THREE QUESTIONS (FAKE NEWS AS DIGITAL CULTURE) 1. Who shares it? Fake news (and memes) as modes of political participation. 2. How does it circulate? The life cycle of fake news online. 2. What tracking networks is it embedded in? The techno-commercial underpinnings of fake news.
  7. 7. 1. WHO SHARES IT? 
 FAKE NEWS AND MEMES AS MODES OF POLITICAL PARTICIPATION
  8. 8. 2. HOW DOES IT CIRCULATE?
 THE LIFE CYCLE OF A FAKE NEWS STORY ONLINE
  9. 9. 3. WHAT TRACKING NETWORKS IS IT EMBEDDED IN? 
 THE TECHNO-COMMERCIAL UNDERPINNINGS OF FAKE NEWS
  10. 10. CONCLUSION
  11. 11. fakenews.publicdatalab.org Liliana Bounegru | lilianabounegru.org | @bb_liliana

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