Fake news

I don’t know anyone that doesn’t acknowledge that fake news is a problem.

But…

I also don’t hear anyone say they’ve been a victim of it either.

Someone has to be.

Our narrative works so hard to protect ourselves that when faced with facts that bring us one step closer to the truth we are unwilling to change our minds. Because we click to confirm not to change our narrative.

Any meme or idea (or even a virus) in order to spread needs the host to interact with another person. In order to overcome this infodemic, it helps to think and understand how ideas spread through this current landscape.

It turns out, we stick to our sources that align with our current political narrative. Pew Research breaks this down perfectly. People who watch Fox News are consistently conservatives. Viewers that are consistently liberal will view multiple sources.

Status roles are in play. To confront is to challenge one’s status. How do you appeal to someone’s status when what they’ve posted is largely false? Difficult. Difficult because we are now having to confront their narrative.

We’ve been through this before. Just not to this scale. In the early days, AOL used to be gatekeepers of the front page of the internet. So, how do they sort what gets on the front page? (How does pay to play fit in all of this?)

Perhaps, Facebook is the problem in all of this. Most of us don’t go to Instagram for political insight. Yet, they are essentially the same company. One answer may be Wikipedia. Wikipedia figured out how to break the authoritative model of information. Volunteers after putting in time become essentially gatekeepers. And when someone puts in the information that is inaccurate, the volunteer sets it back to its previous setting. We now know that Wikipedia is more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica. Open systems beat closed systems every time.

Not surprisingly, we are not actually that good at sifting through what is real and what is fake. The problem isn’t getting any better either.

Bottom line: When is the last time a tweet changed your mind? Probably never. They are here to amplify messages. And it is a good reminder when it comes to social media companies, we are not the customer, we are the product.