Critical Information Literacy as a Path to Resist “Fake News”: Understanding Disinformation as the Root Problem

Anna Cristina Brisola 1  and Andréa Doyle 1 , 2
  • 1 PPGCI IBICT, UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2 Ppgci Ibict, Ufrj

Abstract

This paper proposes to discuss the problem of Fake News, its root problem disinformation and the path to resist it, critical information literacy. It initially distinguishes the concepts of fake news and disinformation through the views of authors as Allcott & Gentzkow (2017), Chomsky (2014), Serrano (2010) and Volkoff (1999). Our perspective considers that none of these phenomena are new or recent, and we do not consider the “combat” of fake news to be a simple task, considering that it involves issues related to the limits of freedom of speech and media censorship. Fake News are understood as intentionally and verifiably false articles created to manipulate people and disinformation as a bigger ensemble of techniques to manipulate public opinion for political gain with perverted (but not only false) information. One way to deal with these matters goes through a more complex process: the development of critical information literacy in the society as a whole. This concept is studied from the work of Downey (2016), Elmborg (2012), Freire (1967;1970) and others. Freire’s critical pedagogy helps the self-construction of subjects aware of their position and their social role, and it is a basic key for the formation of autonomous, critical and responsible individuals. Based on that, critical information literacy is a state of vigilance towards information that enables people to understand that information is socially constructed and to use it to produce new information in a creative and contextualized way. It concludes that critical information literacy is a consistent tool of resistance to Fake News as it allows people not only survive the informational flood but mainly to build a more ethical society in the use of information.

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