Former President Obama is speaking today about disinformation. Tune in to the speech on Thursday at 3:15pm ET / 12:15pm PT.
We’ve seen many takes on the randomness of 'media effects' arguments and Haidt speech, because silos still explode. Rather than bowling alone, the past decade seems to be merely stupid because of social media. Mainstream media (MSM) recently gave Jonathan Haidt’s Atlantic article some pimpage because it claims that rather than explaining the diverse global polyglot, Haidt waterboards the Tower of Babel metaphor with “people wandering amid the ruins, unable to communicate, condemned to mutual incomprehension.”
America is more stupid because some stupid people put up bad candidates and even worse choices got into office trying to reinstate their stupidity in 2020 and 2024. MSM is much more ratings-invested in the electoral chaos like their fetish for manufactured consent via constructed conflict. This is much like Rich Lowry’s infatuation for Sarah Palin, the precursor for Steve Bannon’s trumpism, a baroque version of the Russian firehose disinformation model. 20th Century propaganda’s speed of delivery is perhaps overestimated, despite Bernays and Goebbels.
Actually stories are being shared, plus social capital and institutions have been strengthened because the economic contradictions can be seen in the even higher relief of a postwar legitimation crisis. And maybe American nationalism shouldn’t be saved if it looks like Moscow Mitch, and rather than a decade, the Century is uniquely stupid.
Social scientists have identified at least three major forces that collectively bind together successful democracies: social capital (extensive social networks with high levels of trust), strong institutions, and shared stories. Social media has weakened all three. To see how, we must understand how social media changed over time—and especially in the several years following 2009.
Haidt inverts media causality with the following claim and is resisted by folks like Thomas Zeitzoff.
"Misinformation is a symptom of democratic dysfunction rather than a cause of it"
Reality: The impact of fake news is overstated
Misinformation is a symptom of democratic dysfunction rather than a cause of it
The negative effects of social media are dwarfed by the effects of partisan cable news. See @levi_boxell
, Gentzkow, Shapiro nytimes.com/2017/12/06/opi…
Myth 3: Social media companies are the villains.
Reality: They make popular punching bags, but social media CEOs aren't the culprits who are killing democracy.
It's elites who are willing to sacrifice democratic principles to insure their side wins.
For more nuanced takes:
See @M_B_Petersen's excellent Twitter thread
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This report from the Aspen Institute offers an in-depth investigation into the chain reaction of harm caused by bad information.
Commission on Information Disorder Final Report via The Aspen Institute
A breakdown of how misinformation spreads and actionable steps platforms can take to stop it.
How to Stop Misinformation Before It Gets Shared via Wired
A look back at the events over the past ten years to help us understand how we got here.
Why the past 10 years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid via The Atlantic
Here’s a good example about how social media companies can respond to disinformation when they want to.
Pinterest bans all climate change misinformation on its platform via Tech Crunch
The fight against disinformation can feel overwhelming, but there is reason for hope. This op-ed offers ideas on how we can become a more “disinformation resistant public.”
Fighting Disinformation Can Feel Like a Lost Cause. It Isn’t. via The New York Times
You may have come across this viral parallel-parking spot on your feed — this article breaks down how anonymous mobs can flourish online.
The Parallel-Parking Job That Ignited the Internet via Curbed
When people are exposed to different kinds of information, they can process it differently. This report by David Broockman and Joshua Kalla backs up what I’ve felt and seen and gives me faith that how we share information and argue about information can bring out our better angels.
The manifold effects of partisan media on viewers’ beliefs and attitudes: A field experiment with Fox News viewers
This self-appointed board is an encouraging example of what people across the country — and all over the world — are doing to try to figure out how to respond to the challenges we’re facing.
The Ad-Hoc Group of Activists and Academics Convening a “Real Facebook Oversight Board” via The New Yorker
This report from the Brennan Center offers an important look specifically at disinformation and voter suppression.
Digital Disinformation and Vote Suppression Report via Brennan Center
Here’s a story that shines a light on the intentional revenue models that are hurting local news and the consequences.
A Secretive Hedge Fund Is Gutting Newsrooms via The Atlantic