Truth in the time of social media

Truth in the time of social media: We’re in a war against fact-free news. Information that appeals to our emotions only ends up polarising us...

"Every time we click on a link with a headline baiting us, we like or share information without double-checking the source or verifying its accuracy, we’re willing participants in this war on information. Once we’ve inadvertently shared a misleading article, image, video or meme, the next person who sees it, who probably trusts us, goes on to share it. We’re helping ‘rocket atoms of propaganda’ through an information ecosystem at high speed powered by trusted peer-to-peer networks. When we see multiple messages about the same topic, our brains use that as a shortcut to credibility.
In India, fake news travels fastest through private Whatsapp groups, making it hard to track and harder to disarm. They whistle through smartphones without any need to register or log in to use the service. What makes India’s problem more dangerous is the propensity of propaganda to incite communal violence.
We’re in a war against fact-free news. When we’re fed information that appeals to our emotions, it polarises us. The next time we read something that makes us feel good, try and question not just the information but also why it appeals to us.
When we see inaccurate information on Facebook, try talking to them to understand what they’re thinking rather than simply presenting an alternative point of view that’s going to further polarise beliefs."


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