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ENGL 1010: English Composition I, Prof. Sweet

A course guide for students in Prof. Sweet's English Composition I class.

Fake News - In Focus

Social Media & Free Speech - In Focus

Paper 2 Topics

  • Fake News
    1. Why did fake news become popular online?
    2. Do you think fake news had an effect on the 2016 presidential election? Why or why not?
    3. What actions, if any, do you think Facebook or other social media platforms should take in regards to fake news?
    4. What are some of the ways to spot a fake news article?
    5. Find a fake news article online, and write an essay analyzing who it was written to appeal to and how it could be debunked.
  • Social Media and Free Speech
    1. Should social media companies do more to combat disinformation and hate speech on their platforms? Why or why not?
    2. How did Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election change the national conversation surrounding social media sites like Facebook and Twitter?
    3. Do you think the algorithms and other tools developed by social media platforms to engage users—like the autoplay feature on YouTube—help radicalize people? Explain your position.
    4. Do you agree with the decision by Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms in January 2021 to suspend the accounts of President Donald Trump (R, 2017–21)? Why or why not?
    5. Should the government take any action to regulate social media platforms? If so, what kind of legislation should Congress pass? Write an essay explaining your position.
  • Infotainment
    1. How often do you watch the news? What kind of content do you look for in a newscast?
    2.  Do you think cable news channels go too far in carrying stories about celebrities? Explain your view.
    3. How important is it for people to be aware of political events? Does it hurt society when people's only knowledge of current events involves gossip and celebrities?
    4. Why do you think sensationalistic stories get the highest ratings? Would people watch more "serious" news stories if they were available, and easier to find?
    5. Watch some televised newscasts and critique their coverage. What kind of events were covered? How was the quality of the reporting? How could it have been better?