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Fake data and fake news.

Submitted by eline.lincklaenarriens
on Wed, 11/04/2020 - 19:51

After reading the opinion piece Gianfranco wrote about fake news and fake data, it’s almost unavoidable to think about the ongoing elections and the current declaration(s) of fake news. 

In the midst of all this, and with the increasing popularity and accusations of ‘fake news’, can we or institutions anywhere do anything about it? How can we prove or show that news is real? 

Getting rid of bias in this context is virtually impossible I believe. There will always be a degree of uncertainty and any representation of data and the interpretation that follows will depend on the people who deal with it. Providing more information on how data was collected, which analyses were conducted, and which choices were made in that process is a vital first step in the direction of reducing biases in my opinion. What do you think?

In principle, I agree. Transparency in the whole process should be key to addressing 'fake news', starting from sharing how the data was collected, what kind of analyses were run, the results gained, and how the results impacted the choices thereafter. But is it enough? Even if you are transparent, does it actually help people believe what you're saying or give you or your statements more credibility? 

Bias is inherent and humans have (strong) opinions. My concern is how adamantly people can cling onto them in the face of 'facts' and whether their opinions and beliefs blinds them to reality, generating and maintaining the "spread of fake news".