Increasingly, misinformation is the source of many divisive arguments and the source of too many disasters. As media becomes increasingly intertwined with what we perceive to be real, every person should take time to strengthen their media literacy and counter misinformation.
It is an unfortunate fact that there will always be people who intentionally create misinformation. Their programs vary, but the disastrous results are the same and far-reaching.
What doesn’t help is that social media – the best way to spread information and misinformation – is only gaining in reach. As its platforms grow, social media exceeds our ability to moderate and mitigate their content and effects. As a result, consumers and media creators lack the tools to identify or combat misleading content that can jump from one audience to another faster than a wildfire in a drought-ravaged forest.
This cannot go on.
A new Commission on Information Disorders, sponsored by the Aspen Institute, recently released an 80-page analysis of how lawmakers can help combat misinformation. Comprised of some of the most prominent voices in cybersecurity and media, the 16-person panel calls for “new regulations on social media platforms, tougher and more consistent rules for disinformation ‘superspreaders’ who amplify harmful lies and new investments in authoritative journalism and organizations that teach critical thinking and media literacy,” according to the Associated Press.
While this commission is aimed at the most senior leaders of governments nationwide, there are steps many of us can take right now to help in this fight.
Individually, we must learn to consume media responsibly, to move beyond click-bait or inflammatory language and dig into what lies behind the media we consume.
We have to get used to asking, “Does this come from a credible source?” “, “Which point of view does it promote? », « Is this the whole story?
We must not settle for hearsay. We should not agree to anything just because we agree with it.
Changing the way we consume media will take effort, yes, but it’s time to wake up and pay attention to what we’re actually consuming.
Only then can we individually contribute to what should be a collective effort: to become a society that fights misinformation.