Library studies information integrity

Mary Pom ClaiborneOur Town Readers

Fake news was so 2016. We’re now battling deep fakes. What’s the difference? 

Back in 2016, we started hearing about fake news, filter bubbles and echo chambers in earnest. Few of us understood the impact of search engine algorithms and the systemic sorting of social media feeds along ideological lines. Throw in some Russian hackers and obfuscation from corporate PR firms, and the distrust of news went to a whole new level.

That’s when Knox County Public Library put on the first Truth and Consequences Symposium. We invited experts to talk about it all. It was a great hit, and so many of us left that program with our eyes wide open.

Now, eight years later, new technologies and challenges in news dissemination have emerged. It’s time to revisit the subject of information integrity. Fortunately for us, we have a slew of experts just a few blocks away who can shed light on everything from AI and deep fakes to online influencers and their impact on credible news.

Catherine Luther Ph.D.

Led by director Catherine Luther Ph.D., professors from the Information Integrity Institute at the College of Communication and Information at UTK will join us at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 26, at the East Tennessee History Center (601 S. Gay Street) to do a deep dive into these subjects.

“We now live in a technology-driven and rapidly evolving media ecosystem in which it is often difficult to decipher the source and accuracy of information. This has led to decreases in institutional trust and public confidence in democratic processes. The goal of the institute is to use interdisciplinary research to assist the public in effectively navigating our media ecosystem and identifying credible versus untrustworthy information,” said Dr. Luther on the Institute’s website.

Following this discussion, at 10:45 a.m., we’re delving into the first amendment and social media with UT Law professor and author of Social Media Upheaval (2019), Glenn Reynolds, and co-founder of online news site Compass, Jesse Mayshark.

We’re also talking about Tennessee’s biggest political scandal of the late 20th century when Gov. Ray Blanton was accused of pardoning and releasing multiple prisoners for pay. Join us for the second Truth and Consequences Symposium from April 25-28. It’s free and open to the public. You can find more information here.

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library


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