Every complex problem has a solution which is simple, direct, plausible — and wrong

    This is a great article by Michał Woźniak (@rysiek) which cogently argues that the problem with misinformation and disinformation does not come through heavy-handed legislation, or even fact-checking, but rather through decentralisation of funding, technology, and power.

    I really should have spoken with him when I was working on the Bonfire Zappa report.

    While it is possible to define misinformation and disinformation, any such definition necessarily relies on things that are not easy (or possible) to quickly verify: a news item’s relation to truth, and its authors’ or distributors’ intent.

    This is especially valid within any domain that deals with complex knowledge that is highly nuanced, especially when stakes are high and emotions heat up. Public debate around COVID-19 is a chilling example. Regardless of how much “own research” anyone has done, for those without an advanced medical and scientific background it eventually boiled down to the question of “who do you trust”. Some trusted medical professionals, some didn’t (and still don’t).

    […]

    Disinformation peddlers are not just trying to push specific narratives. The broader aim is to discredit the very idea that there can at all exist any reliable, trustworthy information source. After all, if nothing is trustworthy, the disinformation peddlers themselves are as trustworthy as it gets. The target is trust itself.

    […]

    I believe that we are looking for solutions to the wrong aspects of the problem. Instead of trying to legislate misinformation and disinformation away, we should instead be looking closely at how is it possible that it spreads so fast (and who benefits from this). We should be finding ways to fix the media funding crisis; and we should be making sure that future generations receive the mental tools that would allow them to cut through biases, hoaxes, rhetorical tricks, and logical fallacies weaponized to wage information wars.

    Source: Fighting Disinformation: We’re Solving The Wrong Problems / Tactical Media Room

    Every complex problem has a solution which is simple, direct, plausible — and wrong

    This is a great article by Michał Woźniak (@rysiek) which cogently argues that the problem with misinformation and disinformation does not come through heavy-handed legislation, or even fact-checking, but rather through decentralisation of funding, technology, and power.

    I really should have spoken with him when I was working on the Bonfire Zappa report.

    While it is possible to define misinformation and disinformation, any such definition necessarily relies on things that are not easy (or possible) to quickly verify: a news item’s relation to truth, and its authors’ or distributors’ intent.

    This is especially valid within any domain that deals with complex knowledge that is highly nuanced, especially when stakes are high and emotions heat up. Public debate around COVID-19 is a chilling example. Regardless of how much “own research” anyone has done, for those without an advanced medical and scientific background it eventually boiled down to the question of “who do you trust”. Some trusted medical professionals, some didn’t (and still don’t).

    […]

    Disinformation peddlers are not just trying to push specific narratives. The broader aim is to discredit the very idea that there can at all exist any reliable, trustworthy information source. After all, if nothing is trustworthy, the disinformation peddlers themselves are as trustworthy as it gets. The target is trust itself.

    […]

    I believe that we are looking for solutions to the wrong aspects of the problem. Instead of trying to legislate misinformation and disinformation away, we should instead be looking closely at how is it possible that it spreads so fast (and who benefits from this). We should be finding ways to fix the media funding crisis; and we should be making sure that future generations receive the mental tools that would allow them to cut through biases, hoaxes, rhetorical tricks, and logical fallacies weaponized to wage information wars.

    Source: Fighting Disinformation: We’re Solving The Wrong Problems / Tactical Media Room

    Perceptions of the past

    The History teacher in me likes this simple photo quiz site that shows how your perception of the past can easily be manipulated by how photographs are presented.

    Digital literacies and 'proximal depravity'

    Martin Weller on how algorithms feeding on engagement draw us towards ever more radical stuff online:

    There are implications for this. For the individual I worry about our collective mental health, to be angry, to be made to engage with this stuff, to be scared and to feel that it is more prevalent than maybe it really is. For society it normalises these views, desensitises us to them and also raises the emotional temperature of any discussion. One way of viewing digital literacy is reestablishing the protective layer, learning the signals and techniques that we have in the analogue world for the digital one. And perhaps the first step in that is in recognising how that layer has been diminished by algorithms.
    Source: The zone of proximal depravity