Fact Factories: How facts travel in the digital age by Heather Ford

Some facts about the world become well known and ubiquitous, while others get relegated to the status of opinion - why? Some become so mired in controversy that they cannot survive the onslaught that they receive from those opposed to them. Why do bad facts travel far and wide, while good ones are stopped short in their tracks? Who has the greatest power over our factual information when facts are born digital?

In this podcast, Dr Heather Ford from the University of Leeds answers these questions and more by looking at Wikipedia as an infrastructure upon which facts travel. Dr Ford examines the role of Wikipedia by telling the story of one article covering the protests in Egypt that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. It is a fascinating and revealing journey from the first murmurs of protests to a details, referenced Wikipedia article that you would read online today. It is the story of how online facts develop.

The talk was delivered to an audience of academics in the conference rooms at the University of Melbourne’s Networked Society Institute.

Useful Links

Prezi file to accompany this podcast can be found here.

Heather Ford blog

How Wikipedia's silent coup ousted our traditional sources of knowledge by Heather Ford, 15 January 2016, The Conversation

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