Tackling Disinformation...With Information

Posted by Christine Campbell, Graphics by Jason Banks on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at 9:00 AM PST

Disinformation continues to grow on the internet 

If Merriam-Webster selected more than one special word to sum up each year, disinformation might well have made the list in 2016 and 2017. Actually, it would make any list all the way to 2020. The fact is, it’s becoming harder to tell fact from disinformation. This is especially important in the political space as we look at US and international elections impacted by disinformation. But it also affects things like health, such as anti-vaccination posts on social media. Climate change, crime, and immigration are all issues that have been bombarded with convincing but false stories that muddle thinking. 

Disinformation has always been part of our daily lives, but the internet has allowed it to flourish in alarming ways. We no longer trust our eyes when Photoshop can make a politician appear drunk. We no longer trust our ears when AI can create audio of anyone using a president’s voice. Understanding the power of the internet and how to be a more wise consumer is one part of Seattle University’s School of New and Continuing Studies Web Development Certificate training. 

Seattle University Web Developers become experts in complex internet issues

Web developer in-training at Seattle University, Jason Banks has been digging into concerning issues like disinformation’s spread on Facebook in his Foundations of the Web course. Choosing the topic, pulling together credible research, and learning how to use an infographic design tool like Adobe Illustrator, he created an eye-catching and informative way to help illustrate the problem of disinformation, a portion of which is shared below. 

His research shows disinformation has caused people to distrust all news. Almost 2/3 of users don’t trust the content they read on social media, even when people like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously assured them that “99% of what you see on Facebook is authentic.” With recent reports showing pervasive infiltration of social media with fake or inflammatory posts, web users need to be wary of what they read and share. It’s important that people know not to trust getting their “news” on social media, and some people  40% of Americans -- are choosing more reliable news sources for their information.  

As web developers, Seattle University students learn not just how to create sophisticated web pages—they also learn how to inform themselves and others about the latest issues facing the internet and users. 

Learn how to research and display complex topics 

View Jason’s full infographic here. Learn more about Seattle University’s degrees and certificates here