DLIS student Nicolás Cabrera-Montiel presented his poster “Information-As-Weapon” at the Hawaii Library Association Conference on November 16, 2018 in Honolulu, HI.
Information literacy researchers and practitioners have been exploring and debating the nature of “information” for decades. Information has been characterized as a “thing”, as a cognitive process, as “knowledge”, as a commodity, and numerous other conceptualizations. Recent controversies in the social media infosphere have suggested a new wrinkle in information literacy discourse—the emergence “information-as-weapon” via social media. Examples include politicians calling journalists purveyors of fake news, intentional misrepresentation of professional athletes’ decision to kneel during televised games in protest of police brutality and inequity, and threats directed at women who have publicly discussed episodes of alleged sexual harassment. We can assume many of these examples are intentional and/or deliberately misleading. These and other examples of the harmful use of social media (and outright propaganda) occur in similar fashion around the world and are a very real source of divisiveness. This objective of this poster is to present a contemporary view of weaponized information in social media environments and to argue that the weaponization of information is a social justice issue.