I’d love to hear you guys discuss the topic of fake news. Some items to discuss could include:
- It’s impact on the elections in the United States
- Impact on Western culture in general (I say Western because, well, you guys can speak with more authority about western culture, but probably not Eastern, Mideast, etc.)
- How can fake news be addressed, if at all? Is it just one cost in having freedom of speech/expression?
- Social networking obviously aids in its dissemination, but can we even rely on social networking organizations to stop address it, especially in light of one of Reddit’s admins editing comments directed to him?
Some interesting links for some reading (tinyurls because of new user limit):
- VICE News: How Fake News Spreads: tinyurl.com/juyudcu
- NY Times: How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study: tinyurl.com/h5as9x
- Wash Post: Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say: tinyurl.com/zvxr6ot
Lest I not try to contribute something of my own thoughts: I’m kind of befuddled with the whole topic.
It seems like ‘fake news’ is coming from all different directions, and what’s worse is that it seems like there’s quite the fertile audience willing to accept it all without question, which is an audience that is more than willing to vote. When there’s external and internal actors spreading it, how the hell do you tackle it? Sure, I could say Facebook and Google need to clamp down, but if they clamp down on that, they set a precedent (or maintain one) that you can limit freedom of expression/speech.
Then you have sites like Reddit, which, like Facebook, depend communities to interact with the content, but it seems like it’s easier for a mob to be loud and interact with fake news, generating a ton of traffic and pushing search algorithms towards those loud subreddits. For example, /r/politics is, and has been absolutely dominated by anti-Trump links and conversations; conversely, /r/the_donald dominates search results for certain topics (just try doing a search of spez right now on reddit). On Facebook, the links I posted above describe the process of spreading fake news way better than I can.
I guess it seems like the ability to have productive, truthful dialogue about topics in the general public is in question, now, more than ever. Trust in most institutions and national organizations is crumbling depending on the group you’re a part of.
I feel like the distrust isn’t going away. It’s going to get worse. But maybe there’s a way we can have news, facts, and information be accurate without the need of trusting institutions, much like (forgive my analogy) cryptocurrency transactions don’t rely on trust but instead leverage the ability of the information to have some kind of hash check to verify it’s reliability.
Anyways, apologies for the novel. If you got this far, thanks for your time, but I really think this is a rich topic for the Bad Voltage guys to discuss.