Ross: It’s up to us to battle social media manipulation
The battle against social media manipulation is going to be up to us. It’s pretty clear Facebook and Google are not suddenly going to hire 100,000 editors to check everything that’s posted.
I used to think that only suckers fell for phony stories, but then I talked with Dr. Kate Starbird at the University of Washington, who studies how disinformation spreads. And even though she’s trained in critical thinking, she too has been taken in.
“Yeah, one of the most troubling things we see is that actually disinformation uses the rhetoric of critical thinking… to create doubt about everything, to break down reality,” she described. “And so they’ll take critical thinking into this nihilistic skepticism, where you stop trusting anything.”
For example – you’ll see a headline like, “Was Sandy Hook A Hoax? You Decide.”
Even if you don’t read the story, doubt has been sown.
But here’s a little experiment you might try: When you see a story that gets you really angry, Google the name of the site along with the words, “issues correction.”
So for example, if you type in “New York Times issues correction,” you get a long list of detailed corrections. “Washington Post issues correction,” again, long list. Even Fox News has some.
But type in “RT News issues correction”? No corrections. Does that mean the Russian Government channel has never made a mistake and is always 100 percent accurate?