Even if social media could eliminate disinformation, it won't fix the problem

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/19/even-if-social-media-could-eliminate-disinformation-it-wont-fix-the-problem.html


These discussions keep coming back to substantive campaign finance reform. Unfortunately, neither party’s establishment is interested in that at the moment.


Education is the only way through. The current system is not doing a good enough job at developing critical thinking.


But how can a political party, built on lies and denial of reality, exist if they aren’t allowed to lie and deny reality?


There’s an easy fix. Ignore social media.

This definitely has the sound of someone justifying trying to make a toxic relationship work, hoping the other person will finally finally take some responsibility and change. Sadly we can’t just break up with a third of the US population, so there’s basically no choice.


I misread “education” as “execution.” Freudian read?


eliminating the problem will not … fix the problem :face_with_monocle:


I think these recent cases where someone who was hurt by rumors of election fraud turned the tables and sued the people who promoted the story may be the only way to slow things down. If cases like that get settled in the victim’s favor then it could make people more careful about what they push on social media. I believe the whole ‘pizzagate’ story was eventually traced to one Twitter user in Arizona who regularly posted outright lies designed to help conservative causes. If someone like him were to suddenly face the consequences that would make others think twice.


I have been thinking about this too. Could/should there be a government office, beholden to no politician, that vets out and confirms core truths (“the majority of living physicists with advanced degrees take as proven fact that…”) vs. elements of the conversation that leave room for interpretation? Can the media be pulled back from calling unsubstantiated opinions “news”?

How about restoring the FCC fairness doctrine?

I’d like to see something from the gov’t by which a thing tweeted is not a rule, law, directive or in and of itself even a statement of fact. Which means gov’t employees don’t need to act on it and the media should not report it as a fact. If I’d been in the Trump admin and was expected to follow orders not on white house stationary and not coming to me from inside the white house, I just would not do that.

I would not consider a tweet to be an executive order. And yeah I wouldn’t have lasted very long. And yeah I wouldn’t have been there in the first place, but still.


I dunno, it’s more like why-not-both-girl.gif

  • the data shows that deplatforming works
  • the data shows that labelling misinfo (if it “has” to stay up) works

I’m super encouraged that platforms, especially “I love nothing more than myself” Facebook, have finally come around on the above two points. That is major progress.

It’s also a rather modern phenomenon, only in the last 10 years have we had this explosion of “news” sources. Used to be it was just ABC, CBS, NBC, now you can pick whatever “news” best fits your view of reality.


This whole thing. Yeah. And that the “news” sources have stolen the names and sometimes the logos of ABC, CBS etc. with deceptive URL’s as well. I am learning that the same relative who would send out about 20 bogus alerts a year (and my brother and I would promptly reply with a snopes link, and they’d then reply basically “oops I did it again”) now has “theories” that align with Q-Anon. I’m only starting to understand why my late father, who never explained why, had been limiting contact with them.

I think people (especially those who may have missed out on some critical thinking lessons) are made to feel smart by other people who are peddling misinformation, because it enables the recipient to “know” something that most other people don’t “know.”


A Minister of Truth? What could go wrong?


Even if social media could eliminate disinformation, it won’t fix Fox News.

I can fix the headline, anyway.


Twice because character limit:

yup. yup.

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The problem is the indoctrination of people (even children) that faith surpasses rational thought.


We also need a new Constitution, in my view. The fact that the Senate is split “50-50” but the Democrats represent more than 41,000,000 people than the Republican “half” is ridiculous. That’s 12% more of the US population. Yet Mitch McConnell is going to play Lucy with the Football to Chuck “Charlie Brown” Schumer for at least the next two years. https://www.vox.com/2020/11/6/21550979/senate-malapportionment-20-million-democrats-republicans-supreme-court


“This creates an impossible dillema (sic) for news media: report on what Republican leaders say and amplify disinformation, or agree not to report on some substantial percentage of our elected representatives.”

That’s a false choice. Responsible reportage includes an obligation to recognize and call out propaganda, not just repeat it. “Some say it’s raining & others say it’s not.” Get your head out yer ass and out the window. THAT’S the job, not simply repeating falsehoods.


Let us not fall into the trap of thinking, “OOO won’t solve the problem, so why bother?” There are steps in the right direction and there are steps in the wrong direction. Disinformation is a serious, multifaceted problem that has plagued humanity for all of human history, and may never be completely “fixed.” But anything that decreases disinformation and promotes access to verified, factual information is worth doing.


Agreed, but sadly, our education system is broken and failing us. Too much emphasis on testing and not enough on critical thinking, problem solving and reading comprehension. Even worse, many teachers have no idea how, don’t have the time, or aren’t allowed to teach these things. A child’s failure to test well falls directly on them, not the system.