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confronting the post-truth machine

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confronting the post-truth machine

post-truth (adjective) Relating to or denoting circumstances during which goal information are much less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and private perception.Oxford Dictionaries

On Twitter, Tim Dickinson described 4 several types of distributed ‘fake news’.

‘Fake news’ is lazy language. Be particular. Do you imply:
A) Propaganda
B) Disinformation
C) Conspiracy idea
D) Clickbait


The Oxford Dictionaries outline Propaganda as — “Information, particularly of a biased or deceptive nature, used to advertise a political trigger or perspective.” The RAND Corporation, a US think-tank with robust ties to the army industrial advanced, not too long ago checked out the affect of the Russian Propaganda Model and located that retractions and refutations of propaganda have restricted affect and that the finest technique to cope with it’s by means of forewarning.

“Forewarning is maybe simpler than retractions or refutation of propaganda that has already been obtained. The analysis suggests two attainable avenues:

Propagandists acquire benefit by providing the first impression, which is difficult to beat. If, nonetheless, potential audiences have already been primed with right info, the disinformation finds itself in the similar position as a retraction or refutation: deprived relative to what’s already identified.

When individuals resist persuasion or affect, that act reinforces their preexisting beliefs. It could also be extra productive to spotlight the methods during which Russian propagandists try to control audiences, quite than combating the particular manipulations.”

Framing, or getting out the message first, has vital benefits. It is extra highly effective than attacking a earlier body (message). “1) Repetition strengthens the synapses in neural circuits that people use in thinking 2) Whoever frames first has an advantage 3) Negating a frame activates and strengthens it.” @GeorgeLakoff

Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories

Disinformation and conspiracy theories can simply unfold and can be utilized to maintain residents ignorant. The researcher danah boyd defines agnotology as — “the strategic and purposeful production of ignorance”.

You is not going to obtain an knowledgeable public just by ensuring that prime high quality content material is publicly accessible and presuming that credibility is sufficient whilst you await individuals to come back discover it. You have to grasp the networked nature of the info struggle we’re in, actively be there when persons are trying, and blanket the info ecosystem with the info individuals must make knowledgeable selections.”—danah boyd

Using McLuhan’s laws of media we are able to see that the digital info ecosystem extends emotion by means of manufactured media spectacles, as the Christchurch assassin did. Traditional journalism with its makes an attempt at presenting each side of a narrative is obsolesced by the very nature of its assumption of a impartial perspective. Return to nature actions, similar to anti-vaxxers, retrieve the pastoral impulse for an imaginary kinder and gentler society. We are left in a state of fixed doubt as conspiratorial content material turns into simpler to entry on platforms like YouTube than entry to strong scientific info, a lot of which is behind a pay-wall and inaccessible to the common public. More on agnotology & misology — critical thinking.

Persuading individuals by means of disinformation or conspiracy theories is turn out to be comparatively straightforward through the use of client social media platforms, like Facebook. Such was the case of Cambridge Analytica and the Brexit marketing campaign.

“You don’t need to change everyone’s mind, argues Brittany Kaiser, former director of business development at Cambridge Analytica. You just need to change the minds of the ‘persuadables.’ And the way you identify them is through understanding not just what they buy or say about themselves, but how they think. Through harvesting personal data, Cambridge Analytica could, and did, identify and persuade them.”

The problem for each citizen is to not be a ‘persuadable’. Can you be persuaded by social media?


Social media can affect how and what individuals learn, even when viewing solely hyperlinks and summaries in a information feed. It is reported that 67% of Americans get their information from social media, significantly Facebook. And plainly most individuals don’t even learn what they move on.

“The common Facebook person solely clicks on about seven percent of the political information tales of their feed, which implies that the overwhelming majority of the time, persons are getting tiny little doses of data, with an enormous outdated dose of misguided confidence.” —ScienceAlert

The above article cites analysis that reveals how viewing previews with out going to the authentic article provides an inflated self-perception of knowledge on the topic, “audiences who only read article previews are overly confident in their knowledge, especially individuals who are motivated to experience strong emotions and, thus, tend to form strong opinions.”

If there may be however one apply that all of us can develop to deflect faux information and clickbait, it’s to at all times learn the full article earlier than sharing it or making any feedback.

Social Media

There are dark sides to all social media. Understanding these will help residents make higher selections, particularly throughout elections fueled by disinformation and conspiracy theories.

Image: Ian McCarthy

Social media prolong emotion, obsolesce the linearity and logic of print, retrieve oral speech, and when pushed to their restrict, reverse into fixed outrage.


What can we do?

All we have now is our collective humanity to make sense of the post-truth media encompass. The industrial-market period allowed many people to deal with our individuality. Now we have now to construct our collective energy. My try to assist with this shift is personal knowledge mastery and the Seek > Sense > Share framework. I’ve known as it our a part of the social studying contract. Our collective data must be resilient sufficient to face the post-truth media tidal wave. None of us can do it alone. We have to search out communities of apply to constantly check our understanding. We additionally should engage with numerous social networks that embrace those that differ from us.

Wallowing in the post-truth media encompass will not be an possibility for an engaged citizenry. Ignoring our interconnected actuality is a luxurious we can not afford. Whether it’s PKMastery, crap detection, working out loud, new literacies, or one thing else doesn’t matter. We all must get out of our filter bubbles and interact our networked world.

We can not let the algorithmic overlords management the dialog. Education on the nature of disinformation is important. This is what new media literacy ought to deal with, not simply understanding the newest instruments and platforms.

Critical considering requires us to consistently query assumptions, particularly our personal. To develop these expertise, questioning have to be inspired. This runs counter to most education and coaching practices. When do college students or staff get to query underlying assumptions of their establishments? If they can not do that, how can we count on them to problem varied and pervasive sorts of ‘fake news’? The elites — authorities and market — can not have it each methods. They can not have an informed citizenry in addition to a compliant workforce.

Real freedom will start with individuals taking management of their very own training. It is not going to be straightforward and would require the sharing of institutional and market energy. This is not going to occur with no wrestle. We are seeing this starting to manifest in distributed actions like Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future. Let’s use our phrases.

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” —Ursula Ok. Le Guin (1929-2018)

Note: This is predicated on a number of older posts printed right here.

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