Whose responsibility is it to solve the misinformation problem?

At first, I wasn’t sure whose problem it was but honestly, I think it is all of our problems. People and organizations don’t want to take accountability but they should and the general public should hold everyone accountable. Thank you for helping to figure this out.

Social media is here to stay but everyone can take more responsibility around what is allowed to be shared and what they share. According to American Progress Org, “disinformation thrives in crisis” and one thing they brought out which I think touches on several issues that occur on social media, is that the platforms need to change their algorithm and stop making engagement king, especially around certain topics.

“immediate actions to address coronavirus mis/disinformation by beginning to fundamentally alter their products, changing both the user-facing front ends and the algorithmically powered back ends that are invisible to the user.”

American Progress Org

The change probably should come from the top down but the audiences, bottom, cannot be negligent in their participation in influencing change. Audiences look to people in authority, influencers, and those with power. According to Medium, influencers have so much power over audiences because of psychology. This plays into engagement which is about getting people to engage with content. If an influencer or person in power wants to be the leader in a specific area, they have to figure out how to get more people to respond to their content, this is a numbers game according to Medium. This also pushes a person into the spotlight and makes others think that they are a trusted source regarding the topic.

“To be truly influential online, not only do you have to be popular, but you have to be able to get others involved in spreading your message.”

Medium

According to a study that was published by Rutgers University, With Facebook, blogs, and fake news, teens reject journalistic “objectivity”, teens are not “tunning out” but they are seeking information/news that offer “substantial discussion” and are not going to one source for their information. This shows that education about how to consume and dissect information is needed but also, that the media needs to change how they deliver information. It is no longer about reading the Sunday paper for some but more about scrolling through social media to see what different people in a sphere of influence has to say. This puts more of the onus back on the top to make changes to how they deliver information but also identify misleading information.

Based on the fact that mis/dis information has always been around, I think the goal should be to slow down not completely eradicate this problem. The audience needs to recognize the part that they play in this issue and not completely place the blame on others. The top might have more of the burden, for example, adding media literacy classes as a required subject matter in the education system starting at a young age and the bottom also needs to make a change, for example, pushing the education system to add media literacy classes to the education system. This is one way how the top and bottom work together to create a change.

John Adams didn’t literally call the Philadelphia Aurora (also known as the Aurora General Adviser) “fake news,” but he was not pleased by the way he was often depicted in it. 
Photo illustration by Smithsonian.com

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