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"With the advent of each new communication technology, the ability to scale up propaganda has increased, and our ability, as individuals, to make sense of it and give it the attention we need to determine what we believe about it has not increased," says Steve Jones, UIC distinguished professor of communication.
Zizi Papacharissi, UIC professor and head of communication, says the problem is not specific to social media. "The solution is media literacy," Papacharissi says. "Most news outlets cannot do a whole lot, because they make money off ratings, and controversy generates ratings, and unfortunately controversy is generated around facts vs. propaganda battles."
Fundamentally, the issue of fake news is about use, a lack of critical thinking in evaluating online content and political information, and not unique to the U.S., according to Dmitry Epstein, UIC assistant professor of communication. "We do know what works are psychological filters that lead people to distrust certain types of communication and trust others."