Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

One of the problems with misinformation (and of trolls generally) is that debunking them just makes them stronger. Anything that gives them publicity serves their interest, and so it doesn't matter how strong the evidence is against them, they still thrive. This article seeks to address that problem, and while I'm not fully convinced of everything in it (like the 'truth sandwich') I still think it is headed in the right direction. In particular, the negotiation of norms in communities is important, and especially the idea of basing them in the need to protect members from harm. Similarly, the need for care and credibility in debunking is essential. Ultimately, though, I think the response to disinformation needs to be based in structural changes to our information ecosystem, so that a single message needs many voices in a decentralized network to be carried across the internet, and can't be amplified by a single bad actor working a social network botnet.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Copyright 2020
Last Updated: Oct 21, 2020 11:17 p.m.