Anatomy of Fake News -- Website Primer on Fake News

UC Santa Barbara’s Center for Information Technology and Society students create a website that shines a light on the modern scourge of disinformation

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(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — Remember when “fake news” was a headline in a supermarket tabloid about Elvis’s alien love child? Seems almost quaint, no?

Today, fake news is increasingly sophisticated and global, a digital pathology infecting social media that’s designed to foment discord and distort perceptions. Indeed, it’s become so pervasive that understanding its complexity is crucial, said Joe Walther, director of UC Santa Barbara’s Center for Information Technology and Society.

That was the impetus of an interdisciplinary graduate seminar Walther taught in spring quarter 2018 that focused on fake news — what it is, where it comes from, how to identify it and how the public can protect itself from being duped. Most importantly, the course produced a new website, “A Citizen’s Guide to Fake News,” a comprehensive primer on the subject.