The Threat of Misinformation in a World of Information

By on July 7th, 2020

Humanity has reached a point in history where information is the new gold, and of paramount importance, because of the role, it has in our lives. A significant amount of credit for such a system goes to the invention of the Internet itself, back in 1983. Before that, humanity relied on face-to-face interactions, and information was something that one had to go through a lot of trouble to gain. Thanks to the Internet, we have remote access to every piece of information collected from any part of the world. 

The Dark Side of the Internet

It is safe to say that the Internet is fuelled by information, and information runs on the Internet. Over the years, these two concepts have achieved a sort of symbiotic relationship. However, there are always two sides, and with the Internet, the other hand can be considered ugly and uninviting. With so many positives to admire, we tend to overlook the nasty side. Simply because it’s something we don’t ponder. Still, unfortunately, those that do, hold a considerable amount of power and control over what the rest us see and hear. What’s even more dangerous is that over the years, we have begun to trust what we read and hear on the Internet more than ever. 

Why do we Trust the Internet so much?

The Internet can be persuasive to its viewers, so much so that they often tend to share their newfound knowledge immediately. Humans have relied on the Internet for so long that it has become a part of our lives. Decades ago, the Internet was a luxury; the concept was alien to a large portion of humanity. But now, it’s everywhere; it is no longer a luxury but a necessity. The Internet is so admirable because of the amount of knowledge it has for us; we end up absorbing it like a sponge. This ability to absorb information is not as useful as one might think, which is the primary reason why the Internet has become dangerous. 

Why Misinformation is Such a Threat?

As the years go by, humanity has been subject to a plethora of world-changing events or events that have revolutionized nations. The reality of the situation is that not everyone is driven to understand the depths of the matters at hand, which is more dangerous than one might think. A person who isn’t as aware of issues happening in the world is more susceptible to misinformation, which they might believe, and that piece of news spreads like wildfire. 

Whether we like it or not, the reality is that the majority of people end up clicking the first three links of the first page of Google, and we confidently form our opinions on the subject. As humans, we are unable to refrain from imposing our views wherever we can. With the help of such misinformation, many people make the wrong choices that we end up regretting, but most of the time, it’s too late. It gets scarier when one realizes that various groups and individuals take advantage of this flaw. 

Is There a Way Around this Problem?

So what’s the solution for this? Well, the good news is that we humans are quite responsive as a global civilization. We realize that manipulated information is a reality, so we started creating fact-checkers and other software updates into some of the applications we use today. 

Instead of figuring out a solution from the outside, we’ve broken the chain of misinformation from the inside. However, this is still very new, and we are still far from eradicating fake news and other forms of misinformation. 

All we can, and must do, is be a little more aware of what is happening around the world, and when in doubt, keep digging into that subject; that is when one truly gains knowledge. Real expertise isn’t about knowing what you know but UNDERSTANDING what you know. Once humanity reaches that level in terms of knowledge and information, I believe half of the world’s problems will vanish, and the other half will disappear as we use that newfound knowledge to betterment humanity itself.