If It's on the Internet, It Must Be True: The Socio-cultural Impact of Fake News

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Jenifer Butler and Suzanne Gut / 53rd NeMLA Convention 2022
contact email: 


The ubiquity of social media and technology affects how people perceive and care for the world (digital and physical) around them. This panel engages scholars on how a seemingly endless stream of information causes readers to waffle on the precipice of fake news and misinformation, creating a threat to cultural representations, critical literacy, discourse, and cultural misinformation in virtual spaces. Scholars will explore the impacts of or potential means of combating increasingly pervasive fake news in a society reliant on digital information.


Fake news, writing that presents itself as legitimate reporting of events (Tandoc, Lim, and Ling 7), is threatening critical literacy and creating problematic representations of diverse cultures all over the world. While there have always been matters of questionable, biased, and parody-driven reporting, fake news goes beyond traditional conventions by propagating deliberately inaccurate information and convincing readers that the misrepresentations are real. This socio-cultural phenomena combined with the ubiquity of social media and the ability to share posts create ideal conditions for emotionally-based responses and an echo chamber effect (Wollebæk et al. 2). These conditions, in turn, cause readers to interact more with sources that affirm already established points of view and often encourage less critical examinations of information. When considering this threat to critical literacy, it is necessary to generate discussions about how scholars can combat fake news, specifically fake news concerning cultural representations, in digital arenas. Therefore, this panel aims to generate necessary scholastic discussion regarding the impact of fake news on critical literacy and how potential pedagogical approaches might serve as antidotes to the ever-growing cultural chasm on (and off) line. To this end, we invite scholars from disparate disciplines to present their work on how fake news has impacted cultural representations, critical literacy, discourse, and cultural misinformation in virtual spaces.

Works Cited

Tandoc, Edson C., Zheng Wei Lim, and Richard Ling. “Defining ‘Fake News’ A Typology of Scholarly Definitions”. Digital Journalism, vol 6, no 3, 2017. Pp. 1-17. DOI:10.1080/21670811.2017.1360143

Wollebæk, Dag., Rune Karlsen, Kari Steen-Johnsen, and Bernard Enjolras. “Anger, Fear, and Echo Chambers: The Emotional Basis for Online Behavior.” Social Media + Society, vol 5, no 3, (2019). https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305119829859

Submission Link: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19514