Adams joins discussion on how misinformation spreads

NLP in the News


NLP’s Peter Adams, senior vice president of education, and Charles Whitaker, the dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School, took part in an in-depth conversation about how misinformation spreads and what newsrooms and social media companies should do about it. The segment News Educators Say Journalists Should ‘Slow Down’ on Social Media aired April 20 on WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station.

Photo Credit: Lori Lightfoot at MacLean Center by MacLean Center on YouTube is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Adams begins by sharing advice for news consumers. “Our recommendation is to pause, to slow down because misinformation appeals to our emotions. The most important step is to slow down, not amplify anything that isn’t confirmed, and to try to work your way back to the source. So, ask questions about it even if a lot of people are saying it on social media or repeating it on social media—where did it come from and try to figure out if it came from a verified source,” he says.

He also weighs in on the role and responsibility of tech companies. “I think [social media companies] bear significant responsibility for the spread of [misinformation] not only because they built the biggest amplification machines and disinformation networking machines in human history… but also because they profit from the engagement on their platforms.”

Check out the full WTTW segment on its website.

On April 21, Adams was interviewed by John Howell of WLS-AM in Chicago on a similar topic, why journalists need to slow down and check first before reporting false information found online. You can listen to the segment Lightfoot fake resignation tweet exposes reporting flaws on the station’s website.

 

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