Sir Tim Berners-Lee stated in 2017 that "misinformation, or fake news, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, can spread like wildfire." The inventor of the World Wide Web considers 'fake news' as one of the three most disturbing Internet trends. Children and students have not been sufficiently educated on these threats and lack media literacy. A 2018 UK survey shows for example that only 2% of schoolchildren in the UK are able to recognize fake news. The expression 'fake news' got selected by Collins Dictionaries as the ‘word’ of the year 2017. Collins also selected ‘echo chamber’ as one of the top expressions of 2017. In 2016, Oxford Dictionaries selected ‘post-truth’ as the word of the year 2016 because emotion and personal belief seem to have become more “influential in shaping public opinion” than objective facts and because “truth itself has become irrelevant”. Students and teachers need to improve their critical thinking skills and to take the habit to do fact-checking. Plagiarism and fake papers are at a record high and an increasing number of people mistrusts experts and challenge the notions of facts and Truth. This presentation aims at shedding light on the origins of the expression 'fake news', at evaluating its impact on higher education and the pursuit of truth and knowledge, at looking at its perception among students and academics, and at recommending some solutions on how to tackle this new threat to Higher Education and Academia.
Bernard Montoneri, National Chengchi University, Taiwan
This paper is part of the CHER-HongKong2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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