Daniel Halliday
Jul 22 · Last update 5 mo. ago.
What can be done about fake news and online hysteria?
In the age of the internet the advent of fake news and online hysteria are often becoming real world problems. What can be done about this?
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Censorship is the only answer, in order to prevent threats to democracy
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We need an unbiased independent web-based news media to supersede the obsolete mainstream news media
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Education, people are more susceptible to fake news due to a lack of critical thinking skills
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Censorship is the only answer, in order to prevent threats to democracy

Fake news and social media bots may have been so effective, we might have arguably seen them change the face of democracy. When looking at the involvement of Russian Facebook bots around the time of the last US presidential elections and the Brexit campaign, we can see the potential for fake news to generate hysteria and undermine democracy. It will be increasingly important moving forwards for governments to deal with this somehow, and censorship is the only way to tackle this issue.

This trend toward censorship could already be noted in the UK with cases such as the prosecution of Markus Meechan, Chelsea Russel or the harassment warning given to comedian Graham Linehan. These actions were taken under the Communications Act of 2003, as the convictions were described as being grossly offensive hate crimes, while Linehan was warned for using the birth name of a transgender activist online. Similar laws have been passed in Germany, with the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (Nework Enforcement Act) allowing German authorities to take action over social agitation and fake news online.

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 5
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DH edited this paragraph
Fake news and social media bots may have been so effective, we might have arguably seen them change the face of democracy. When looking at the involvement of Russian Facebook bots around the time of the last US presidential elections and the Brexit campaign, we can see the potential for fake news to generate hysteria and undermine democracy. It will be increasingly important moving forwards for governments to deal with this somehow, and censorship is the only way to tackle this issue.
We need an unbiased independent web-based news media to supersede the obsolete mainstream news media

As we see fake news and online hysteria cause growing violence in countries such as Nigeria and India, and seemingly influencing acts of terrorism in the US, we need to reflect on the reasons for this. Although the causes are multifaceted, the gradual and widespread distrust of the mainstream news media has fuelled interest in fake news, conspiracies and fed into hysteria online. This distrust has become so common place that many people are more inclined to believe this alternative narrative over the traditional journalism.

Social media is arguably still in its infancy, and the blurring of fact and fiction on this new media format has been exploited by certain individuals for various reasons. This has at times become a large scandal, for example the case Russian software bots spam posting falsities on Facebook in an attempt to influence the US presidential election. However the narrative has an extra layer of complexity when you add the use of claiming something is “fake news” in order to promote a distrust in the media, and to sow hysteria and more fake facts into certain demographics of the general public. This has been a method used by political commentators such as Alex Jones, but also by Donald Trump himself, and arguably contributed to his election win in 2016.

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Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Nov 5
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Social media is arguably still in its infancy, and the blurring of fact and fiction on this new media format has been exploited by certain individuals for various reasons. This has at times become a large scandal, for example the case Russian software bots spam posting falsities on Facebook in an attempt to influence the US presidential election. However the narrative has an extra layer of complexity when you add the use of claiming something is “fake news” in order to promote a distrust in the media, and to sow hysteria and more fake facts into certain demographics of the general public. This has been a method used by political commentators such as Alex Jones, but also by Donald Trump himself, and arguably contributed to his election win in 2016.
Education, people are more susceptible to fake news due to a lack of critical thinking skills

The fact that fake news and online hysteria have become such big issues demonstrates the wide scale failings of education systems in many countries around the world. The lack of critical thinking skills in the general population is such that many people believe what they read regardless of the source. In a 1993 experiment, psychologist Daniel Gilbert found that upon understanding what we read we have the tendency to automatically believe it, until critical thinking helps analyse it afterwards.

As media has evolved in the age of the internet, so too will the education system to accommodate this new medium of learning and communication. With this change legislators need to place critical thinking skills high in the objectives of modern education. Not only to deal with fake news but to facilitate the innovation needed to deal with the many complex problems addressing this modern era. Critical thinking skills and fact corroboration techniques need to be instilled in the general population of every country, it is the only way to beat fake news.

businessinsider.com/why-you-believe-everything-you-read-2011-1

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Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Aug 28
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
As media has evolved in the age of the internet, so too will the education system to accommodate this new medium of learning and communication. With this change legislators need to place critical thinking skills high in the objectives of modern education. Not only to deal with fake news but to facilitate the innovation needed to deal with the many complex problems addressing this modern era. Critical thinking skills and fact corroboration techniques need to be instilled in the general population of every country, it is the only way to beat fake news.
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