Misinformation is an issue and parents and consultants of governmental policy makers need to take action but it is not privacy, so what is it?
Some forms of misinformation are:
- Polarizing audiences
- impersonating people (or groups of people) online
- using emotional language when facts are expected
- spreading conspiracy theories
- discrediting opponents and deflecting criticism
- internet trolling
We analyzed polarization in the previous article extensively as it imposes the worst and most direct danger to democracy among other forms of misinformation. As for the rest, some potentials dangers are:
- health issues when following bad practices
- economic fraud
What you can do
Read only information that helps you take action, action on anything that you really care and ignore everything irrelevant. This will help you avoid sharing misinformation which means that we need to be mindful of the things we do "for fun". For example, some memes we share might be part of a campaign for opinion making.
First Draft suggests us to:
- expose people to examples of misinformation, or misinformation techniques, to help them recognize and reject them in the future.
- nudge people to think about accuracy before sharing. For example, saying that you heard it from a friend or from a facebook group is not enough
- be aware of the potential for manipulation and evaluate multiple resources before you accept something as true. Try to find official sources before you believe something.
What is your role
Recommendation engines now weight news with sophisticated algorithms that detect fake news based on e.g. the content of the news or the way they get propagated. However, that cannot completely replace the human eye. If you cannot judge, at least don't press any share/like button.
As stated here under the condition of privacy, we have knowledge of a person’s identity, but not of an associated personal fact; whereas under the condition of anonymity, we have knowledge of a personal fact, but not of the associated person’s identity.
Use anonymity for things like ethical journalism, not to spread misinformation.
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