Fake News and Cognitive Bias

Main Lecture Theatre - Arts Building
Monday 5 November 2018 (17:45-20:00)

For more information, please contact s.bandyopadhyay@bham.ac.uk

fake news

‘Fake news’ is a phrase that has become popular recently to describe the rise of deliberately false information which is often spread virally across the internet.

While some information is obviously false, most ‘fake news’ has an element of truth and can sway our opinion if it matches our existing biases. It has also been used by politicians to dismiss unwelcome news!

Behavioural economists and psychologists have carried out studies that show our tendency to believe news if it comes from people or sources that share our beliefs. Sophisticated algorithms now use micro-targeting to sway our opinions and makes us more susceptible to believing fake news. This has important implications for democracy as it is important that the public understand how they can be manipulated and protect themselves in the future.

At this event, hosted by Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, we will give top tips for how to filter news from many sources to find useful information and to decide on the truth in competing claims. In particular, we will focus on showing the power that biased news has to influence political outcomes.

Speakers at the event will give examples to show that news can be used to misinform, even when it is based on facts, and also to illustrate how you can guard yourself against it. 

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This event is part of the Festival of Social Science which runs from 3-10 November 2018. See what other events are taking place in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham. 

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