Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Some very practical advice on how to handle fake news and disinformation drawn partially from the conspiracy theory handbook and partially from George Lakoff's work on frames. Let me quote from the latter: "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." The third point is especially important. After it has gained currency, it's too late to debunk fake news - every act of debunking actually reinforces people's belief in it. How to respond, then? Proactively. "You read the signals from the edges. It's tough but not impossible. It's what good Intelligence is based on. You do this — 1) Systemically e.g. the Finns are less susceptible to fake news because of the school system & universal service 2) By watching for weak signals in forums and other alt media 3) Tell a more compelling story e.g. the film Casablanca (1940) — it takes a village to raise a citizen.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Dec 08, 2023 9:39 p.m.

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