Andrew Garner Gives a Public Lecture on Understanding Hoaxes

According to the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language, a hoax is deceiving news. The news has spread in society these recent years and most people trust it. Dr. Andrew Garner from University of Wyoming (UWYO), the United States (US) stated that we have to know how the people receive the information.

On Monday (30/4), in a public lecture at a meeting hall of Graduate School of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY), Garner presented examples about hoaxes in the US. “30 percent of Americans believe that Obama is a Christian. The circumstance shows that they easily trust hoaxes which tend to deceive and engage political opinions,” he declared.

“Hence, we have to understand how our society receive the news politically and how strong the predisposition is. Society is divided into high informed and low informed society. The high informed society refers to people with a lot of political information which they get or look for by themselves, while the low informed society means people with little political information and considering that politics is boring. Besides, the predisposition is someone’s tendency to support issues regarding religions, politics, and races,” explained Garner.

“I got data that high informed society tends to believe hoaxes since they do not recheck information which they receive, and then the trust is supported by their predisposition. For instance, in the US, when hoaxes disseminated by Democratic Party sympathizers attacking the Republic Party sympathizers, the news are easily received by other Democratic Party sympathizers,” said Garner. He added that the data may represents facts of most of society, but the data cannot be used to measure information management of each individual.

According to Garner, the condition is a confirmation bias that people only trust what strengthens their predisposition. Indeed, it is reinforced by free information spread nowadays. “The existence of internet and devices eases Americans to access and spread both true or hoax information. Therefore, we should notice consequences of what we have now,” he ended.

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