Fake News and Libraries
The deliberate distribution of misinformation existed long before anybody called it “fake news.” But the agency, content, and impact of this misinformation has changed. Thanks to the internet, that house of mirrors, malicious individuals and organizations are able to spread fake news much more easily than before. It travels much farther, much faster. It can deal with almost any topic. It can sway voters. Is “fake news” any concern of libraries? Should libraries collect and provide access to it? What tools (if any) should libraries offer users to identify it?
Gerald Beasley, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian, will talk about the Library’s important role in collecting and providing access to information that has an impact on society, regardless of its medium. Collecting web sites and other venues where fake news flourishes is essential for current affairs analysts and future historians. Protecting the privacy of patrons and the confidentiality of their research is equally important. Because collecting “fake news” is technically difficult and the sites themselves are often ephemeral, libraries and other memory institutions need to combine forces and adopt shared principles.