Net Neutrality has become a hot button topic for the private sector and government alike lately. Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Google are taking a stand against changing net neutrality laws. We recently looked at the impact of repealing the Open Internet Order (OIO) for libraries, but this issue extends into almost every facet of life in the 21st century.
Net Neutrality is the concept that the whole internet runs at the same speed no matter what. Under President Obama, the FCC enacted the Open Internet Order (OIO) in 2015 to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T. From video chat to torrenting and everything in between, there are countless applications and websites that take full advantage of the universal speeds. According to ALA, libraries and their users have benefitted from this framework.
As children we were promised flying cars, hoverboards, and conveyor belts to shower and dress us each morning. Until now, you’d be forgiven if you were disappointed that all we’ve gotten so far are increasingly sophisticated ways to argue with strangers and hail rides. Library Extension, the browser tool that gives you a heads up when your local library has the book you’re about to buy, changes everything.
A version of this post appeared in the New York Times Magazine, 14 May, 2017.
Sean Spicer's recent gaffe-riddled press briefing provides a real-time lesson in how the fake news sausage gets made. On Tuesday the White House Press Secretary made a series of what could optimistically be called “misstatements” about Adolf Hitler, concentration camps, and the use of chemical weapons in WWII. What followed is the new normal for 2017: a flood of fake news reports were generated, then shared on social media until it became difficult to discern which Spicer quotes were real and which had been fabricated.
One of the more heartening things to come of the past few months is that information literacy (along with media and digital literacy) has really come into its own as a mainstream topic. While talk of it used to reside mostly in niche library listservs, websites, and conferences, now it’s everywhere. Fake news may be responsible for many things, but its proliferation also seems to have spiked an interest in information literacy.
Over the weekend, one of Donald Trump’s senior advisors rejected the premise that the president and his press secretary were spreading falsehoods about attendance at Friday’s inauguration. Kellyann Conway said that they were sharing “alternative facts,” a term that drew befuddled laughter from her interviewer.
If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that information literacy is a critical ingredient in informed democracies, but that we have a long way to go in building that skill across our population. As we look ahead to the coming year, we tried to ascertain what themes would emerge in the library field as a response to the rapidly-changing landscape. Here are 3 emerging trends we’re seeing that warrant attention in 2017:
After two weeks of following the story of Macedonian “fake news” sites and Facebook’s editorial responsibilities, we wanted to discuss the fact that fake news is only part of the problem. Discerning real information from biased misinformation is a growing challenge in the 21st century.
A growing number of Americans are getting their news from social media (Pew Research Poll), and increasingly, disreputable news sites are using these platforms to distribute fake news for financial profit. A key tenet of information literacy has always been the ability to evaluate sources, however the increased sophistication of fake news sites means that this skill is more important than ever.