Beyond Information Literacy, Trust.
Disinformation is less about credibility of individual pieces of information and more about credibility of sources. Credibility of sources is less about the media that carry the information and more about the value attached to or perceived in the source through trust built on human connections associated with the source. Fact checking rarely convinces because it does little to penetrate the shield of distrust.
A piece of information is good to a person when they see the value of human relationships attached to the source that carries the information. They trust the human connections they see in the source. They see the worth of information because they value the human connection they find in the source that reinforces the trust. When trust is a much more convenient and intuitive factor in human information seeking behaviors, there is little or no incentive nor motive for further analysis and evaluation of the piece of information consumed.
Librarians may be able to teach information literacy in k-12 and higher education to a limited degree of success. It’s unlikely however to teach the same to the public where credibility of information is a much more subjective, intuitive decision-making process. In this sense, the “war” against disinformation is less about teaching people how to read, analyze, and evaluate information and the sources (i.e., carriers) of information, and more about expanding the scope of their human connections by introducing new trusted relationships in their lives. The goal is to help people become more open and receptive to more diverse sources of information.
Librarians do not just work on information. More than that, librarians are in a good position to help members of our community build human relationships and expand the world they trust.