Internet Librarian 2019 Conference: Bull$H!+ Skills: Tools For Fighting False/Fake News

In this Internet Librarian Conference 2019 session Mark Ray, Future Ready Librarians Lead, Alliance for Excellent Education, and Kristina Ishmael, Senior Project Manager, New America Foundation, discuss how to identify false information on the internet and how to incorporate information literacy skills in the classroom.

Ray and Ishmael talked about how to tackle false information on the internet when even Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently stated that Facebook would not do anything about it on their platform noting that they were unprepared to handle it. There are many people, state actors, government officials, companies, and individuals that are actively creating disinformation. 

Ray and Ishmael came up with 3 steps to address false information: 

1. Call it
2. Own it
3. Teach it

First, Call it talks about calling out the false information when you see it. If students are getting their information from social media teach them how to use it and how to separate fact from fiction. Give students the tools to identify factual information. They had the audience take a Pew Research Center quiz on how well you can tell factual from opinion statements. There were some tricky questions designed to encourage discussion. 

Secondly, Own it refers to recognizing your own bias and information behaviors. We need to acknowledge divergent opinions and perspectives by reading beyond our own filter bubble and model health behavior. 

Thirdly, Teach it speaks to how we work with students and educators. Ray commented that he has taught information literacy in his district but it’s not working. We need to teach students and educators how to be curators of information. One thing they asked the audience was if your school was building a culture of information literacy? Librarians should teach the teachers to teach the kids and model the behavior you want to see if your school.