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To combat fake news “infocalypse,” UM launches effort to explore social media responsibility

Daniel X. O'Neil
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Garlin Gilchrist II, who ran for Detroit City Clerk in 2017, is the founding executive director of the new Center for Social Media Responsibility at the University of Michigan School of Information.

It seems more and more that the phrase “fake news” is being used against any reputable news report that doesn’t conform with someone’s distorted notion of what is true.

But, that does not mean “fake news” is not a real and threatening problem. These past few months, we’ve learned of Russian outlets that used social media to spread memes that United States citizens at opposite ends of the political spectrum gleefully reposted because it fit the narrative of their echo-chamber beliefs.

The next step in “fake news” goes beyond photoshopping and taking quotes out of context. It will be altered videos that make it look as if someone is saying something that they did not.

The University of Michigan’s School of Information has established the Center for Social Media Responsibility. It’s an effort to combat the coming “information apocalypse” or what the Center calls “infocalypse.”

Garlin Gilchrist II, the founding executive director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility, joined Stateside to discuss who needs digital media literacy the most, how tech companies like Facebook and Twitter should get involved in curbing false information, and what exactly the center plans on doing to take on such a Herculean task.

Listen above.

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