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Literature Review Step by Step

This page highlights the pitfalls of the online information landscape, as well as resources about misinformation within specific online platforms and services.

Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers

People often gravitate towards information that reinforces their beliefs and biases. Website customization can make this behavior worse by creating a filter bubble that weeds out some content and promotes other material based on a user's location, search history, or account information. This environment can restrict you to an echo chamber where you only hear one perspective of an issue rather than the whole story. Explore the resources below to learn more about filter bubbles and what you can do to overcome them, adapted from Simmons University's Evaluating Sources LibGuide.

Internet activist and author Eli Pariser discussed the problems of web customization in this 2011 Ted Talk. Pariser's message remains a timely warning about the hidden filters that impact daily interactions with online information.

Think Before You Share

When browsing the Internet, you might find interesting or outrageous news stories that you want to share right away, but it's important to think before you share. Here are three steps to help you share information responsibly, adapted from Boston College's News Literacy LibGuide:

  1. Stop: Don't let strong outrage or approval make you rush to share a news story.
  2. Read: Read the entire article. Who is the author? The publisher? Is there evidence to support its claims?
  3. Think: Is there a benefit to sharing this story? Will it broaden a debate or further polarize people?

Social Media Platforms

In April 2021, the Pew Research Center published a report on American's social media behaviors, showing that 81% of Americans use YouTube, 69% use Facebook, and 23% use Twitter. Explore the links below to learn about how these popular platforms impact users' interaction with online content. Some content in this box has been adapted from Boston College's News Literacy LibGuide.

It's worth double-checking any information you find online. If a claim includes a footnote or citation, follow that link and investigate the origin of that claim. If there are no references, try to confirm the claim from an outside respected source. Visit the Evaluating Information tab on this LibGuide for more detailed strategies.

Podcast: Does Not Compute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Broadcasting its first season in the summer of 2021, this podcast was produced by the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Episodes cover topics ranging from ways that misinformation can manipulate users' emotions and behavior to strategies for creating a more civil, informed society.

eBooks on Misinformation in the Online Information Landscape

Cover Art for Misinformation and Fake News in Education

Misinformation and Fake News in Education, edited by Panayiota Kendeou, Daniel H. Robinson, and Matthew T. McCrudden

Publication Date: 2019. This book considers how misinformation persists and is encouraged as well as methods that can help reduce the impact of false information.

Cover Art for The Politics of Social Media Manipulation

The Politics of Social Media Manipulation, edited by Richard Rogers and Sabine Niederer

Publication Date: 2020. This book uses the dynamics of the 2019 Dutch election as a case study to explore the impact of misinformation spread through social media.

Cover Art for Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

Publication Date: 2018. This book explores how search engine algorithms reinforce structures of inequality through promoting stereotypes, biases, and discrimination in its results.