"Solving" Misinformation

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By Matt ✍️ (write.as/matt/)

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Matthew says:

While I agree that “fact checking” or “believing what actual science says”, will not solve the core issue of misinformation. They do provide tools for platforms to limit the spread and reduce harm caused by it. Even if we solved the education, worldview and critical thinking problems that allow folks to believe misinformation, it won’t stop bad actors from doing it anyway.

Robert N. Winter says:

“Above all, I think it’s important to consider root causes and worldviews not grounded in tech when it comes to “solving” this problem. More technology and more fact-checking won’t solve it, at least without causing brand new problems.”

As a philosopher I couldn't agree more with the above. If there are two great canards of history, it is that the established Church replaced superstition with 'faith', as though what people believed about gods and goddesses before was a lie but what is 'now' believed is the truth. The other is that the enlightenment brought the world out of the mire of religion and into the light of reason, as though there was no rational basis for religious belief.

Each instance is, arguably, simply substituting an old cult for a new. Fact checking and 'the science' are the latest iterations of this. I never cease to be amazed at how many individuals and groups I see arguing that 'the science' isn't clear on a topic, simply because 'the science' doesn't support their world view. But once there is even a single journal article or vaguely reputable source in support, suddenly 'the science' is clear and shows what they believe is fact and everyone should get on the bandwagon.

Rigorous fact checking is better than nothing, as are CWs and other technological solutions. But as you note, until we resolve the root causes of the affected world-views, we will remain locked in the same deeply partisan, superstitious, belief based social structure we always have.

Observations with Alecks says:

I'm in agreement and thankful you have this point of view for write.as/WriteFreely.

To take the point further: Wanting to control what people say directly contradicts decentralization. People who say they want both are either being naive or intellectually dishonest.

Matthew says:

Good timing with this posts, as I’ve been using read.write.as more lately and have seen some conspiracy/misinformation being shared. Without any way to mute/block/report this sort of thing, it makes the service less interesting to use and a amplification vector for this content.

Numeric Citizen says:

I fully agree with you, and this is what I'm telling my kids: be curious, be cautious, be critical, don't take for granted. But sometimes I fear that this critical thinking is the path to so form of cinism. The line is thin sometimes, no?

tmo says:

we're on the same page in many ways (I wrote something similar regarding trust, and gatekeepers, etc. last night on tmo), but I think above all else, everything should “be taken with a grain of salt”, and people can/should use cognitive and critical thinking (and reasoning) skills to decide what IS what.

Nice post, enjoyed it :)