As Albert Einstein once famously said, “You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet.”
Well, he might have said something like that had the Internet been invented during his lifetime. Regardless of who first provided this warning about misinformation online, the message rings true today – and students from the College of Business Administration (CBA) at UNO are working to spread this message.
CBA Scholars Academy students have found through their research that social media has the potential to not only mislead audiences but polarize or even radicalize them. Info Window aims to help audiences look at their social feeds more critically, learn how to spot false information online, and understand how these tools can be used for malicious purposes.
Under the leadership of Kelsey Medeiros, Ph.D., they created Info Window, an online hub for resources and guides to learn about the dangers of falsehoods and half-truths online, find tips on spotting a news story that lacks credibility, and utilize resources to help fact check information.
Cali Carritt, one of the students working on the project, said the goal of the project is to help educate the community about online misinformation and provide tools to help them tell fact from fiction.
“We want to address common things with fake news like what it is, how to spot it, how to not spread it, and how to teach or warn others of fake news,” she said.
The Info Window podcast is a large part of this effort. Students launched the podcast and are recording several episodes featuring guests like Gina Ligon, Ph.D., director of UNO’s National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center; Jennifer Griswold, Emmy-award winning anchor and journalist at KMTV 3 News Now; and Jeremy Lipschultz, Ph.D., Peter Kiewit Distinguished Professor in UNO’s School of Communication.
These guests will discuss topics around online misinformation based on their areas of expertise: Radicalization, journalism, and social media and online communication. The first two episodes are now available for streaming.
Info Window will serve as the key component of the UNO team’s entry into the Invent2Prevent competition, hosted by the Department of Homeland Security. This program is designed for students to create products, tools, or initiatives that take aim at preventing targeted violence and terrorism.
Interested in learning how to judge the credibility of information online? Visit the Info Window website and listen to the Info Window podcast. After listening to the podcast, listeners are encouraged to complete a brief survey to help inform future efforts and assess the success of the podcast. The survey is anonymous though respondents can enter their email address to be included in a drawing for prizes as a thank you for listening and completing the survey.
It’s not a great idea to believe everything online but students within the CBA Scholars Academy are some of the good ones, helping all of us think critically about what we’re reading and sharing stories safely online.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.