By Mike Elgan:
“Information wants to be free.”That was the motto of truth-seeking digital activists in the ’80s and ’90s.The motto today is: “Information wants to be fake.”
….Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) pointed out this week that Russian troll farms are stoking both sides of the debate over NFL players protesting during games, urging Americans to join kneeling players in protest, and also to boycott the NFL over kneeling players.
One recent tweet on a Twitter account called “Boston Antifa” came from a poster who apparently forgot to remove the location stamp. The location wasn’t Boston, but Vladivostok, Russia.
Such is the nature of our age that some said even the time stamp may have been faked to smear Russia.
Nobody knows what’s true.
Buzzfeed reported this week on the rising readership of content farms based overseas in places such as the Philippines, Pakistan and Macedonia. Such “publications” exist solely for profit. They don’t care what’s true. They just care what goes viral…..
The rise of false information online is caused by five factors:
1. The Internet allows anyone anywhere to publish anything everywhere.
2. Digital content is easy to counterfeit or modify.
3. Many people have powerful incentives to spread false information.
4. It’s easier for social network algorithms to favor emotionally reactive content than true content.
5. The public increasingly relies upon digital internet content for “knowledge.”
Facebook, Twitter and Google claim that they’re taking active measures against the rise of fake information. But previous efforts have failed.
The reality is that fake information will continue to be spread online. And that could be a problem for you and your company.
A possible solution lies in applying existing law and extending it to the Internet. If a newspaper publishes information they are required to take reasonable steps to ensure the information is correct, else the publisher may face criminal prosecution, liability for civil damages, and/or censure by media/advertising standards bodies. The same should apply to online media.