Architectures of Misinformation #australia burns
On 19 February 2020, First Draft Sydney bureau editor and Acting Co-Director of the UTS Centre of Media Transition, Dr Anne Kruger, moderated the first of a new series, Precursor: a space for Nuance in which creative thinkers take hot button issues and cool them down with refreshingly reasonable dialogue.
As many would have already witnessed, misinformation is rampant as a global public attempts to make sense of the unprecedented scale and ferocity of the fires burning across Australia. Gathering UTS experts across fields of digital & social media as well as journalism, this session offered ways to understand misinformation, conspiracy theories, and 'alternative facts' by carefully unpacking this explosive media landscape.
The event sold out and 100% of proceeds were donated to FOODBANK Bushfire Emergency Relief Appeal
The panel featured:
- A/Prof Heather Ford: Head of Digital and Social Media at UTS whose research focuses on the increased deployment of algorithms to organise knowledge about people, places, events and things.
- Dr Amelia Johns: Senior Lecturer in Digital and Social Media at UTS. Research focus: digital citizenship.
- Dr Francesco Bailo: Lecturer in Digital and Social Media at UTS. Research focus: political participation & social media.
- Sue Stephenson is a multi award-winning journalist with 35 years experience as a reporter, producer and newsroom leader. She joined UTS in 2018. She is also a Google News Initiative trainer.
CMT's Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Chrisanthi Giotis shared her take-aways from the event:
'"Excellent conversation at precursor revealed the link between fighting misinformation and trust in the media. Attempts to correct misinformation can backfire when seen as an elite conspiracy. Sadly this alternative truth is fed by growing scepticism and polarisation in society. Other key take-aways: sometimes the media amplifies lies by reporting on them, the speed at which lies travel compared to hard-researched truth, and even when the media creates fact-checking articles people hit paywalls. Finally that ol’ nugget of the algorithm – and the fact that the private companies making money from emotionally charged content. As UTS Head of Digital and Social Media Heather Ford said: “If we think about platforms as not just profit-making but providing a public service, everything changes, including the algorithm.”