Get ready for Confronting the Disinformation Age with titles in this recommended reading list prepared by the SFU library. These works expand on some of the key ideas discussed throughout the 2019 Community Summit and are available for borrowing in the SFU Library collection.
Post-truth: Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.
Disinformation: False information which is intended to mislead, especially propaganda issued by a government organization to a rival power or the media.
Misinformation: Information that is unintentionally false or inaccurate.
Click Bait: Something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest. It is often paid for by the advertiser or generates income based on the number of clicks.
Confirmation Bias: the tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs.
Filter Bubble: Tendency for internet users to see only news & ideas that they agree with, or have interest in, due to personalization algorithms of search engine results and social media platform feeds.
“Who Said That?”
- The Security Challenges of
Canadaian Security Services
Democracy Under Threat:
Risks and Solutions in the Era of
Disinformation and Data Monopoly
Canadian House of Commons
SFU Communications - Making Knowledge Public
Digital Democracy 101 Explainers
Netflix & Truth
Netflix and Truth is our weekly Instagram campaign where we curate and highlight films, documentaries, and series that explore some of the themes that we address in Confronting the Disinformation Age.
Do Not Track
(Brett Gaylor, 2015)
Do Not Track, will make you reconsider your online life through an interactive 7 episode docuseries outlining how your private information may be extrapolated from your internet activities to track you. Conceived and directed by Brett Gaylor, this docuseries combines short videos, interactive elements and interviews with experts to explore how personal online data is being collected and used, allowing users to see in real-time how their own personal data is being tracked.
Watch: Do Not Track
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
(Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk, 2017)
This film is the sequel to An inconvenient truth (2006) , which followed former US Vice President Al Gore as he emphasized the issues of Climate Change. Ten years later, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017) ,addresses the progress made since the first film, emphasizing the global efforts to persuade governmental leaders to invest in renewable energy, culminating in the landmark signing of 2016’s Paris Agreement. The film addresses the power of the post-truth era as it attempts to debunk the facts behind Climate Change. Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, follow former US Vice President Al Gore in Best Documentary nominated film and find out how truth means power.
Available on: Netflix
Truth and Power
(Brian Knappenberger, 2016)
Truth and Power, follows individuals and groups as they expose freedom-crushing practices in private corporations and the government. Ranging from Black Lives Matter to battling the collection of personal data, this impacting Netflix docuseries follows the fight for truth in the post-truth age through real life stories of ordinary people who will go extraordinary lengths to uncover abuses of power.
**Available on Netflix
(Brian Knappenberger, 2017)
Nobody Speaks, follows Hulk Hogan’s trial as he contest his media rights as his sex tape is released by Gawker Website. The documentary is an examination of the perils and duties of the free press in an age of inequality. Deeper analysis showcases how power influences truth, but, most importantly, how it will influence the future of journalism, the First Amendment in the United States, and the power of the ultra-wealthy.
Available on: Netflix
“Follow This”, a collaboration between Netflix & Buzzfeed, seeks to guide viewers through the odd internet culture stories 15 minutes at a time. This 20 episode series features the experiences of journalists as they research various story topics from Deep Fakes to odd online trends. It’s short, upbeat, and aims to make viewers walk away from this show knowing something they never knew before.
Available on: Netflix
Terms & Conditions May Apply
(Cullen Hoback, 2013)
Netflix’s “Terms and Conditions May Apply” will make you rethink your willingness to “Agree” to the endless terms and conditions connected to every website you visit, phone call you make or app you download. Your online information is made available to billion-dollar corporations who are learning about your interests, your friends and family, your finances, and your secrets… and not only selling the information to the highest bidder, but freely sharing it with the government. And guess what? You agreed to it. This thought-provoking film will make you think twice about how you protect your online privacy, and how the erosion of privacy will affect you in the current digital age.
Available on: Netflix
Lo and Behold:
Reveries of the Connected World
(Werner Herzog, 2016)
Netflix's 2016 documentary “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World” follows filmmaker Werner Herzog as he explores the marvels and horrors of the centre of modern society - The Internet. The documentary starts where it all began -- the UCLA campus where the Internet was created. From then on, Lo and behold analyzes our interconnected world and its impacts on society, from social media to advanced robotics, this documentary will not disappoint. What is the future of the internet? Will we ever go back? And if we can’t, what will this look like? All we can do is wonder.
Available on: Netflix
- Blog Post : The War for the free and open internet and how we’re losing it
- Video: How the internet is breaking democracy and what we can do - Internetdagarna 2017
- Bellingcat - The home of online investigations
- OSoMe - The who, what, where, when, and how of social media data -
- Hoaxy - Visualize the spread of claims and fact checking :
- Botometer - Check how bot-like a Twitter user behaves :
- Botson - Chrome extension to detect and block twitter bots in your newsfeed
- Facticious - To Test Your Fake News Judgement, Play This Game
- Disinformation is Coming to a Screen Near You, Incessantly
- A guide to anti-misinformation actions around the world
- Fake or Real? How to Self-Check the News and Get the Facts:
- New York Times : What Advertising History Says About the Future of Fake News
- New York Times: The Poison on Facebook and Twitter is Still Spreading
- Fake News: Could a New Online Rating System Help Fight Misinformation?
- Kids’ Take on Media
- New research report from CIRA shares Canadian perspective on fake news, privacy, cybersecurity and internet access
Youth Take Action
Digital Citizenship Day
During the 2019 Community Summit, high school students from across Greater Vancouver worked together to create a Digital Rights Manifesto.
News Media, the Public, and Democracy
Introduces students to the study of the relationship between public communication, information media practices and structures, and democracy. Examines the role of media and communication in existing and emerging democratic contexts, including print and electronic journalism, alternative media, public spheres, and the challenges of constructing and maintaining a democratic media and communication environment in Canadian and global contexts. Prerequisite: CMNS 130.
The Political Economy of Communication
Examination of the political and economic processes that have generated the policies and structures of mass media, telecommunications and related industries; the relationship between the dichotomies of state and market, citizen and consumer, capitalism and democracy, global and local, and sovereignty and globalization in media industries and policies; overview of influences on State and international policies towards the media. Prerequisite: CMNS 110 and 130.
Introduction to Information Technology: The New Media
An introduction to new communication/information technologies, seen as new media of communication: the technologies, their uses, and the social issues arising from them. Students with credit for CMNS 253 may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: CMNS 110 or 130. Writing.
Media and Modernity
An examination of the social and cultural influences of media on western social thought with particular reference to the emergence of the concept of modernity. This includes a review of nineteenth and early twentieth century criticisms of modernity associated with romanticism, Marxism, cultural conservatism, fascism, and non-Western social thought. Prerequisite: Two of CMNS 210, 221, 240.
Introduction to the history and theory of documentary film, focusing on a range of examples from the 1920's to the present. Explores the shifting definition of documentary and realism. Students with credit for CMNS 386 with the topic "Problems in Documentary" may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: 60 units including CMNS 220; or FPA 135, 136 or 137.
Community Summit 2019 Classroom Partnership Papers:
Caption it “is this the real life, is this just fantasy”: An analysis of social media’s effect on documenting reality | PDF (150 KB)
The Ethical Concerns Apparent in Born into Brothels (2004) | PDF (188 KB)
The Evolution of Comedy Vérité from TV to YouTube | PDF (188 KB)
The Use of Documentary Codes in Political Parody: Heritage Minutes and the Conservative Party of Canada | PDF (352 KB)
Fishing for Prejudice | PDF (147 KB)
News Discourse as Political Communication
An examination of journalism and the news media as a set of institutions with important political and ideological roles. The course overviews theoretical perspectives and applies selected theoretical concepts to such topics as: influences on media content, how news generates meaning, ideological aspects of media frames, and the evaluation of journalism's performance in relation to normative expectations of democratic political communication. Prerequisite: at least one of CMNS 235 or 240.
Media, Learning, and Social Change
Examines the institutional associations between media and learning across a range of cultural practices. Specific attention is given to research examining young people's informal learning in relation to various media forms, and also addressed is how electronic and digital media have been used in a range of learning settings to convey information, and to promote understanding and social change. Students with credit for CMNS 387 (taken in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, or Spring 2014 semesters) may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: 60 units, including one of CMNS 210, 220, 221, 223 (or 223W), 230, 235, 240 or 253 (or 253W).
Communication in Conflict and Intervention
The role of communication, and in particular the mass media, in various types of conflict and the uses of communication-based strategies in the intervention, arbitration and mediation of those conflicts. Prerequisite: 60 units including CMNS 110 and 130. Recommended: CMNS 247 and 362.
Globalization and Media
Examines the dynamic global transformations in media, including print, broadcast, film, and digital media in a broad international and comparative context. Investigates globalization as a critical concept and considers media in the long history of globalization. Focuses on political, cultural, and technological issues addressed by media and globalization at the turn of the 21st Century. Students who have taken CMNS 387 with the subtitle "Globalization and Media" may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: 60 units including at least two of CMNS 210, 220, 221, 223 (or 223W), 230, 235, 240, or 253 (or 253W).
Media and Ideology
An advanced seminar which explores intersections between communications, media studies and social theory through an in-depth history of the concept of ideology. Students who have taken CMNS 422 may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: 75 units, including CMNS 310. CMNS 331 and SA 327 recommended.
Participatory Youth Media Cultures
Examines the nature, meaning and pedagogical implications of participatory media cultures, including their relationship to the development of a digitally literate citizenry. Participatory cultures involve social, cultural and economic relations and practices that change the meaning of literacy, learning, and possibilities for socio political change. These developments are examined with a view to how they shape young people's lives. Students with credit for CMNS 487 (taken in Summer 2009, Summer 2010, Summer 2011, or Summer 2012 semesters) may not complete this course for further credit. Prerequisite: 75 units, and CMNS 327 or CMNS 387 (with the topic "Media and Education").
Issues in the Information Society
Advanced seminar to discuss issues in the interplay between contemporary society and new computer/communication technologies, at the level of comprehensive theories of society, on one hand, and major public policy, on the other. May repeat for credit if topic studied is different. Prerequisite: 75 units, including CMNS 253W, 353 or 354. CMNS 362 is recommended.
Fake News and Alt-Facts: Navigating Post-Truths Politics
Explores the emergence of post-truth politics; the rejection of expert and scientific opinion; and the emergence of "alternative facts" and "fake news" in political discourse on current issues such as climate change, immigration and the economy. Also explores corresponding increase in the ideological polarization in the US, Canada, and the UK and other European nations. Students with credit for POL 339 Selected Topics in Comparative Government and Politics under the title Navigating the Post-Truth World may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: Six lower division units in Political Science or permission of the department.
Analyzing How People Orient to and Spread Rumors in Social Media by Looking at Conversational Threads (Zubiaga, Arkaitz et al, 2016) - Our study reinforces the need for developing robust machine learning techniques that can provide assistance in real time for assessing the veracity of rumours. The findings of our study provide useful insights for achieving this aim.