Course description

We are in an era of unprecedented access to information via digital news, the
internet, and social media. This also comes with significant misinformation — for
example, in 2016, Oxford Dictionaries named ‘post-truth’ as its word of the year. Yet
how prevalent is fake news, and how has this shaped modern politics? To what extent
do “echo chambers” or the “backfire effect” exist as a result of social media, and are
they interfering with our ability to separate fact from fiction? The course will first
define the challenges faced, using examples of how misinformation affected elections
both historically and recently in the US, the UK, and Europe. It will survey academic
studies in political behavior that analyze both how individuals consume political
information from social media, and how partisanship and polarization are making the
problem worse. The course will conclude by discussing the nascent policy solutions
to combat the spread of fake news — from Facebook’s crowdsourcing initiatives to
France’s proposed legislation regarding election campaigns. Through readings,
discussions, and written assignments, students will learn how to better evaluate
evidence when it comes to politics and policy. (CP)

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Previously offered classes

Winter 2023: Online course

Section ID:GOVT 3294 001-LEC
Session:3-week Winter session
Class dates:January 3-20, 2023
Final exam/project due:Friday January 20, 11:59 PM (see Final exams)
Time / room:
Mode of instruction:Online (async)
Grade:Student option
Instructor:Cirone, A. (aec287)
Min. enroll:6
Max. enroll:30
To enroll:Enrollment for this class is closed.

See Online Learning FAQs.