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ACM Engage - Scholarship Stream

A guide detailing various sessions that are part of the ACM Engage Scholarship Stream program

What are Facts

So.......What is a Fact?

There are numerous definitions of the work Fact. These include:

  • Something that actually exists, or is real
  • Something known to exist or to have happened, like a historical event 
  • A truth known by actual experience or observation, for example, a plane flying - something that is evident through observation

Objectivity versus Subjectivity

Objectivity is the articulations of truth regardless of someone’s view point and include factual statements. For example, the hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, scored 894 goals during his NHL career.

Subjectivity is the infusion of one’s own view points or biases into a fact. For example, stating that Wayne Gretzky was the greatest Hockey player ever.


Alternative Facts

What is an "Alternative" Fact?

An alternative fact is an alternative interpretation of a fact that is typically used in order to serve one’s political or ideological purposes – regardless of whether the interpretation is valid or not.

Although this term was first used in the 1990s, it gained popularity or common usage in January 2017, when Kellyanne Conway, a Counsellor to President Trump, used the term in a Meet the Press interview - where she defended Sean Spicer's (White House Press Secretary at the time) false statement about the attendance numbers at President Trump's inauguration. 


Post Truth

What is the Truth and What is a Lie

There are numerous definitions of what is Truth, and what is a lie. Here are some:

Truth  Lie
  • the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual: the truth of his statement was attested
  • A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
  • a proven or verified principle or statement
  • Something intended or serving to convey a false impression
  • That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
  • An untrue or deceptive statement deliberately used to mislead
  • A fact or belief that is accepted as true.
  • Something that is deliberately intended to deceive


The essential concept is that a LIE must have a calculated intent to mislead/trick/deceive. In the academic setting, both faculty and students have the responsibility of checking whether information is accurate and truthful before repeating it. 

Post-Truth - Oxford Word of the Year - 2016