In 1644, John Milton composed a pamphlet in which he argues for freedom of expression; areopagitica has been adopted as a term to describe the capacity for individual to compose and distribute any ideas they see fit. Digital tools, especially those called Web 2.0 tools have been interpreted as the realization of areopagetica and students can use these tools to extend and expand the audience of their works. They no longer create solely for their teachers, but they can create for global audiences. This changes the nature of writing and creating for students.
Areopagetica has been adopted by other creators as well, so the vast content available to educators and students includes accurate information from credible sources, fiction packaged as fact, as well as myths, misinterpretations, sarcasm presented as fact. These many variations fill the space between accurate and credible information and purse falsehood. This disparate information led Mark Dueze (2006), a scholar of media and journalism, to conclude the digital media landscape is filled with content creators who “juxtapose, challenge, or even subvert the mainstream” (p. 68) for a variety of reasons.
In a 2016 report on science communication, the National Academies noted a study in which 40% of American reported they get science news from Facebook. This contributed to the Committee on the Science of Science and Science Communication (2016) to observe,
there are more actors in the media landscape who may, either intentionally or unintentionally, provide inaccurate science information. While today’s science media landscape is likely larger than the declining mass media/newspaper-delivery system of the past, it does not offer clear mechanisms for filtering out false, sensational, and misleading information. More than ever before, citizens are left to their own devices as they struggle to determine whom to trust and what to believe about science-related controversies (p. 4-2).