Nico Casas – A Celebration of Faculty Research ~IUN~


It is an honor to be here. Thank you so much for this. This is fantastic. Thank you. First, what I want to
talk to you about is, I want to kind of go back about, what is this 2019, so 2016. We’re gonna go back about three years ago. And you know 2016 it was a beautiful
year. It was the best year, it was the greatest year of all time, and it was
amazing. The, you know, the United States presidential election of 2016, so
within social media there was a lot of dividing between social norms. So we
have Twitter accounts especially that were online that were you know were
BOTS, Facebook political rallies that were actually planned by foreign
adversaries, so there is evidence of that, that there were Facebook events that
were planted that were planned by by foreign countries and real-life
Americans actually attended. There was also evidence that the Russian
government was breaching election data specifically with swing states, so in
terms of specifically with Florida and Georgia and you know divided Americans
on social issues via social media through memes or through fake news
stories. How was everyone’s Thanksgiving at 2016? So yeah. So here it is. Actually
mine was actually not that bad because it’s a little bit of an echo chamber
with my family, but here is an example, a really interesting example,
I found for the New York Times from this Twitter handle called “March for Trump”
and this was actually with evidence found by a tweet that was created by
the IRA. The IRA is the internet research agency
which was basically a factory of that of churning out fake news stories. This
“March for Trump,” they tweeted something, Tennessee GOP was also out of the IRA. It
was not based upon the the Republican Party from Tennessee. This was another foreign Twitter account. Now, fast-forward over here to the 2020
presidential campaign with the Mueller report. I don’t have to kind of go
through that because of running out a little bit about a time. But the special
counsel, Robert Mueller, what he did with his report is he
indicted 13 Russian nationals and because the lot of the public didn’t
read the report the House of Representatives invited him to come to
speak to testify and so he did testify on July 24th 2019 and I don’t know if
anyone has ever seen this but when he was answering questions they were
basically reading from the report and he was just reply you know yes no yes no
but what was really interesting that I heard is, when you’re paying attention to
it, is that Representative Will Hurd, he’s a Republican from Texas, he said, he
posed a question that was something that was really interesting. And he went to, when he went up, he was talking about the IRA’s posing a
significant threat to 2020 election and well Mr. Mueller perked up. And this is
what he said, he said, “One of the other areas that we have to look at are many
more countries are developing capabilities to replicate what the
Russians have done. It wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here
and they expect to do it at the next campaign.” As we are sitting here right
now, in this auditorium, there are crazy uncles that are sharing Facebook you
know fake news. People are liking posts. People are liking memes and they’re just
throwing it out there. Well for example yesterday, the New York Times had an
article about the spread of information of Twitter bots about the impeachment
proceedings that are going on right now. This is happening as we speak. Now with
librarians we’ve always had a role in terms of fake news and misinformation
before it was cool. You know before it was a thing. We’ve, and not just
librarians as well, but also with with IT experts, with educators, with teachers, the
communication field, and other fields as well too. The ACRL, the association of
college and research libraries, a framework for information literacy of
higher education, it’s called the framework, this is essentially basically
the librarians Magna Carta. It’s kind of our Bible. We we know a lot about the
framework and what the fake news and misinformation prevention does within
the framework it attacks three of the frames,
so the first framework Authority is constructed in potential. So what does
that mean? That means we put a lot of faith into our institutions from
Brookings Institution, VAP Reuters, I mean we rely on these institutions to
give us facts. Then third one, this is actually my favorite one is the third
one, is information has value. Information is now on the same scale as nuclear
weapons, as money, and as natural resources such as oil and because
countries such as Russia even us in the United States, Iran, North Korea, they’re
using this information to disrupt elections. And then the last one, the
searching as strategic exploration, we have a desire to find and consume
information, but we have to utilize the proper tools. Now Pew did a really
interesting study and what they did is they took a bunch of age groups and what
they decided to do is they decided to give people headlines the differences
between something that was fact and something that was opinion. Now fact in
false, but fact an opinion like an op-ed and what they found, and it’s critical
for identifying fake news headlines, let me go back, so
what they found is that younger people were really great at identifying fact
from from opinion. Now there was another study done with the rates of sharing your
fake news study and basically what they did is, I believe this was out of
Princeton University, is that the data mind information from Facebook and what
they found is that age has a very strong effect, even no matter what side of the
political spectrum you are. Users over 65 years old shared nearly seven times as
many articles for fake news than the youngest. Seven times. That’s alarming. Now
what I propose is that we should focus on fake news programs in misinformation
programs on the elderly. Why do you, besides that seven times, why do you all
think that we should focus on the elderly? Yes! Excellent. They vote. They
vote a lot. They vote with the age groups. They vote across demographics with
whites, with African Americans, with Latinos, rich, poor, educated, not educated,
65 and older they vote and they vote a lot. So but the problem is there’s challenges
with doing programming for 65 and older there’s the digital divide. You know some
users in these groups they don’t have cell phones. They don’t have internet
access at home, so that’s a little bit tricky. Critical thinking skills,
especially the newer generation, we kind of foster, you know, they foster
critical thinking skills a lot and then attitude search use conception
they’re, you know, it’s post and this is for all age groups opposed to echo
chambers as well. So we used to teach something called the crap test. It’s now
called sift, so we’re gonna kind of try an experiment with that and then what I
like to do is I’d like to work with Cuer with the Center for German regional
excellence to get a fake news workshop going for seniors through us through
senior university. So that’s that’s it. Thank you. (Applause)

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