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Keepin' It Real: Tips & Strategies for Evaluating Fake News

Inauguration Day Teach-in 2017

Noam Chomsky - The 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine

Media Frames Applied to News Personalization

How do filtered search results and targeted online advertising relate to these 5 filters?

  1. Ownership Filter: Large corporations own the media, creating bias in output. Google and Facebook are corporations, and their goal is to make money, not be a common good or a shared community.
  2. Advertising Filter: The need for the media to attract advertisers to generate revenue and ensure its survival; selling advertisers "you" as the product (e.g. your data). Every time you interact online, you release hundreds of megabytes of data to digital platforms.
  3. Sourcing Filter: The Silicon Valley tech industry acts as a control mechanism; the sources that media rely on for news content provide privileged access to government, big businesses, etc. and reflect the funders' ideology. Only specific types of "truth" are circulated, reproduced, and maintained. Algorithms repeat patterns and thus close down interactions to only those that fit existing patterns.
  4. Flak Filter: A means of disciplining the media; efforts by the powerful to discredit those who disagree or cast doubt on prevailing assumptions. For example, bots can artificially amplify messages to make it appear that certain views are widely shared, hijack platforms’ trending lists, or create the deception of public interest and approval.
  5. Fear Filter: The mechanism to rally the public around perceived threats that could undermine the interests of the elites. For example, algorithms' potential to select for certain kinds of emotions and manipulate you. Also, algorithms include, exclude, and rank so that certain public impressions become permanent, while others are fleeting.

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