Battling Information Illiteracy

Article by Paul T. Jaeger and Natalie Greene Taylor on “How misinformation affects the future of policy…“California wildfires are being magnified and made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!”

This tweet was a statement by a US president about a major event, suggesting changes to existing policies. It is also not true. Every element of the tweet—other than the existence of California, the Pacific Ocean, and wildfires—is false. And it was not a simple misunderstanding, because a tweet from Trump the next day reiterated these themes and blamed the state’s governor personally for holding back water to fight the fires.

So how does this pertain to information policy, since the tweet is about environmental policy issues? The answer is in the information. The use and misuse of information in governance and policymaking may be turning into the biggest information policy issue of all. And as technologies and methods of communication evolve, a large part of engaging with and advocating for information policy will consist of addressing the new challenges of teaching information literacy and behavior.

Misinformation literacy

The internet has made it easy for people to be information illiterate in new ways. Anyone can create information now—regardless of quality—and get it in front of a large number of people. The ability of social media to spread information as fast as possible, and to as many people as possible, challenges literacy, as does the ability to manipulate images, sounds, and video with ease….(More)”