IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 8th Jan
“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” —Chris Grosser
EDITORIAL HUNT #305 :“Handling Fake News or Disinformation in 2021 | UPSC ”
Pratik Sinha and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
Handling Fake News or Disinformation in 2021 | UPSC
Do we have a grip on disinformation in 2021?
Disinformation is increasing and becoming harder to combat, but fact-checking too is evolving
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : 3 : Freedom of Speech : Communication : Information and Broadcasting
The four Ps of power, profit, profound public disagreement and platforms will continue to drive disinformation in 2021. Discuss -(GS 3)
- Why people spread fake news ?
- Dissemination of information
- Things are changing .
- Way Forward
WHY PEOPLE SPREAD FAKE NEWS?
- PROFIT : These days information without label is spread for Profit.
- CLICKBAIT : Fake news is mostly a sort of low-grade clickbait.
- OPINION : This is disinformation that’s driven by Profound public disagreement.
- DIGITAL SEMILITERATE : And finally it is hard to believe that all of this is enabled by Platform companies.
- BOTTOM-UP DISINFORMATION : Where people in good faith spread information that others think of as disinformation
- WORSENING INFODEMIC : Disinformation, or “fake news”, is a malaise that has been worsened by the infodemic of the social media age.
- WEAPON OF POLARISATION : In the last few years, it has been used as an effective weapon to polarise communities and upset democratic processes.
DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION
- BASIS OF FAKE NEWS : The nature of disinformation was the same as it is today — primarily old videos and images used to represent something in the present, especially if they have an element of violence or are highly politicised.
- DEBUGGING FAKE NEWS : In all of these issues, the kind of disinformation which was perpetrated was pretty simple, and not that difficult to debunk.
- FALSE CLAIMS : It’s just the organised manner in which it was produced every single day — multiple false claims using photos, images and text.
- POLITICALLY MOTIVATED : In fact, it is just going to keep increasing because political parties have found out that if you put out organised disinformation, then any political narrative can be controlled.
- AWARENESS AND KNOWLEDGE : Fake news are not introducing any educational reform so that people can be more aware.
- MAJORITY FAN BASE : So, what we are going to see is just a lot more disinformation that is rudimentary, but with a lot of people consuming it day in and day out, and forming their political opinion.
- EVOLUTION OF FAKE NEWS : While the tactics, forms, and communities involved in creating and disseminating disinformation evolve over time, by now we have a very clear sense of what the basic dynamics are.
- FUELLING FAKE NEWS : You have disinformation that is spread and created in the pursuit of Power.
THINGS ARE CHANGING
- HARD TO CHECK FACTS : Many disinformation actors have embraced formats that are harder to fact-check and harder to moderate, whether by humans or by automated forms.
- RESILIENCE : We’re also seeing that platforms have been, on rare occasions, willing to go after disinformation very aggressively.
- FACT CHECKING COMMUNITIES : The fact-checking community has evolved in really impressive and important ways over time.
- FALSE NEWS : In India, there are two kinds of false news: the ones that come directly from politicians, and the other that is organised disinformation on social media.
- ORGANISED DISINFORMATION : When it comes to organised disinformation on social media, again, the mainstream media in India has acknowledged the issue but not many news organisations actually do fact-checking.
- SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS : Platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube have amplified disinformation with algorithms that prioritise engagement and revenue.
- GOING THAT EXTRA MILE : This major vector of disinformation can be controlled if platforms are willing to go that extra mile.
- TECHNOLOGICAL INTERVENTION : We are the people who are bridging journalism and technology and have ideas on how to deal with these issues.
- CONSUMING FAKE NEWS : These are harmful as they can be around vaccines or public health emergencies and, for that matter, climate change.
- WHAT POWERFUL COMPANIES CAN DO ? : Large and powerful institutions can make scientific consensus and evolve with set of new data, and different analyses sometimes overturn established findings.
- USING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE : There are some areas in which there is a clear scientific consensus and an established ground truth, but there are other areas in which this is less clear.
- INDIAN JOURNALISM : In India, we are facing a much bigger problem, not just because we have what the rest of the world has, but because the journalism industry in India is not equipped to handle the science.