Bürger, Suchverfahren und Analyse-Algorithmen in der politischen Meinungsbildung

»Media and information literacy as self-disruption«

Mario Hibert & Emir Vajzović | University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

This video is part of the session »Media and information literacy as self-disruption« in the conference on »Information Literacy and Democracy« 19th and 20thJune 2020.

The live session takes places on June 20th at 04.00 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST). If you want to join the live session, please send us an e-mail to infodem (at) uni-hildesheim.de.

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You are cordially invited to discuss here. In this way, it is possible to provide feedback and pose statements and questions even before the live event.

Possible areas for discussion can be:

  • What do you think about the topic?
  • What are your opinions on personal data and the use of personal data and its transparency? Especially, when it comes to the outsourcing of core functions from schools/ hospitals/ police to private technology companies?
  • What are your thoughts on the mentioned aspects of MIL education and self-disruption?
  • What questions do you have, and what other aspects are important to you?


  1. Hannah Mitera

    First of all, I would like to thank you for this interesting presentation about media and information literacy containing many important aspects I wasn’t thinking much about before. For current reasons, the aspect of data storage and data mining by governments and tech giants seems particularly relevant for me. I am thinking of the recent introduction of a coronavirus warning app in Germany where there has been a huge discussion about privacy issues. While this seems to be a good thing on the first sight, I think it is concerning that this discussion arises when talking about an app provided by the government but not when talking about apps provided by those mentioned tech giants. Here, not the takeover of important functions by private companies, which might actually be worth preventing, is criticised but conversely even the return of such functions into the hands of public institutions. For me, it is quite worrying, that people seem to trust those apps by non-transparent tech giants more than a way more transparent app published by a governmental agency. Since it seems that reputation is a more important issue than facts in this discussion, it becomes even more important to promote media and information literacy to respond to this development. In your presentation, you have also mentioned this importance of education in media and information literacy. I am wondering, if you have any specific ideas how this could be done best, especially in the current situation of the pandemic, where there is almost no other option than using digital tools and thus offering options for data collection again.

    • Mario Hibert

      Hi! Thanks for leaving a comment. Apropos specific ideas, I would suggest checking out https://collectivize.org/ or find out and share similar collective actions/initiatives…

  2. Besnike Hiseni

    I also thank you for this great presentation. The topic is not only relevant in the current situation, but will also become increasingly important in the future. In Germany, the whole country (schools, municipalities, etc.) is now being tried with a few measures to teach people these key skills. People in Germany are very sensitive when it comes to their data, especially their children’s data. In my opinion, schools are lagging behind. E-learning and many other online options are largely not used by parents. The teachers often have no media literacy. The pandemic in particular makes it clear what difficulties the country is facing. There are no online exams, instead exams are postponed or do not take place at all. Another example is that middle school teachers are not allowed to rate homework because the lessons are held online. In the whole situation (including the example with the Covid 19 app), I believe that transparency is the most important factor for most people.

  3. Selma Cebic

    I would also like to thank you for your interesting presentation. According to Besnike’s statement that people in Germany are careful when it comes to their personal data and its transparency, I would agree with her opinion due to the fact that individuals are not aware of the potential purposes their personal data might be used for. If we search something on Google or other search engines we are forced to accept cookies – otherwise we are excluded from reading the entire article. Some people would immediately leave the particular website and some of them would accept the terms and continue reading. We are especially forced to use digital technologies in order to participate in the “online world” during this pandemic. It’s quite concerning that media and information literacy can be used not for the benefit of humans and society but rather for further exploitation, lack of freedom and ultimately a kind of creation of a post-capitalist society. This seems to be even worse than aggressive capitalism as it is a pure struggle for profit. It concerns human rights, democracy, the periphery, economic and other securities. Referring to Hanna’s statement that individuals seem to believe non-transparent tech giants more than a transparent app published by the government it should be stated that these developments are more than worrying as those private technology companies are using our data to make money. The real question is why do individuals have more trust in private technology companies than the government itself? Sharing awareness about media and information literacy should start in the early age when children first get in to the touch with technologies like smartphones in order to avoid manipulation and open the room for discourse and freedom. But how can one share awareness about media and information literacy if it is self disruptive?

    • Mario Hibert

      Thanks for the comment. You have a point in the last line. I would say we should have either put question mark to the title of our presentation or better explicate irony that we wanted to emphasize using the term “self-disruption”.

  4. Alica Hoffmann

    I think the topic is interesting in particular on the current situation. It important to know what your data can be used for. During Covid-19 e-learning and social connecting are not possible without the internet. It is important to know if conference tools can use your data and what happened to the conversations you have with your family and your friends thru your phone.
    Personal data should be secure when it comes to outsourcing from universities etc.
    The transparency is a main point that is frequently raised and most universities use conference tools and e-learning platforms with coded data transfer and comprehensible privacy policy.
    I did not completely understand what is meant by we can become post-digital? Wouldn’t that mean that we don’t need technologies in future?

  5. Lisa R.

    Thank you for the presention, discussion and talk of the topic “Media and information literacy as self-disruption”.
    Your Video gave a really wide view of society and power especially the power structures that the digital turn brings up.
    The presentation showed some critical issues about the use of technology. For example disscussed how we had to make choices between investing in humans and investing in technology.
    It is especially important and interesting right know in the coronavirus pandemic, because as a student you have to rely on digital services for example online conference tools and you have no choice but to accept it, because it is prescribed by the university. So it should secure personal data, right?
    I think the problem is, that its difficult to find a solution about how digital services can becom a public good and how people completely trust them. How can we make basic search engineering part of our infrastructur without deep technology knowledge.
    For current reasons (for example the Corona-APP) the aspect of data storage and data mining by governments and tech giants seems particularly relevant for me. Even tough the goverments are making a lot of information about data privacy available and
    the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Germany said he sees no reason that speaks against an installation, there is still a lot of criticism for using the app.
    The app and its data protection is discussed in an artical (unfortunately in german):

  6. Selma Cebic

    After having watched the video and online conference, we came to conclusion that users are not aware of back-end technology and hence are not capable of understanding what is going on behind the screen. However, you highlight the importance of critical thinking and that formal education should consider teaching back-end of the internet and integrate this into curriculum vitae. Not only the formal education, but also librarians are affected by digital transformation, as they should provide the users with reliable information. Additionally, you present many critical issues regarding traceable data and question whether private tech companies such as Google, Amazon etc. should be in charge of our personal information. As you have already mentioned, free will as an essence of democracy is questionable, since our democracy choices are determined by some data points. In respond to that, you suggest building digital social contract between users and big tech companies in order to maintain equal distribution of wealth, the universal rights and freedom. In addition to that, you state that education in media and information literacy may be our long-term shield from ourselves. According to your statement, I found a paper by Drotner (2020), where she talks about knowledge scepticism and how you can train multimodal competencies in a digitized era. She highlights the importance of MIL to minimize the gap between educational knowledge formation and knowledge scepticism. Moreover, it involves critical analysis and argumentation of knowledge in different domains. The difference between claims-making and argumentation is important, as well the validation of sources (who speaks, in whose interest, from which institution). Another observation, we have made during the live discussion, was that most educators and students do not understand the algorithmic structure of digital search engines. If something is top on the list, does not have to be right or important. It is much more important to be aware of hidden structures of the large platform operators whose business models exist on datamining.
    Bye the way I have found an article which deals with fake news and how News literacy might help us to become more critical. Several universities are working with middle and high schools providing news literacy curriculum vitae to them (Tugend 2020). The aim of the project is to get students ask three basic questions when reading or watching online content: Who is behind that information? What is the evidence? What do other sources say? They also talk about developing two major skills: lateral reading and click restraint. Maybe we should consider news literacy in our curriculum vitae, as well?

    Drotner, Kirsten (2020): Minimizing Knowledge Scepticism – Resourcing Students through Media and Information Literacy.
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/419784ACE85ADE4B524BC95FFA87F33E/S1062798720000903a.pdf/minimizing_knowledge_scepticism_resourcing_students_through_media_and_information_literacy.pdf (10.09.2020).

    Tugend, Alina (2020): These Students Are Learning About Fake News and How to Spot It. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/education/learning/news-literacy-2016-election.html (15.09.2020).

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