August 13, 2018
You, and no one else, are the best protection against fake news. Educate yourself.
Back in August 2018 I wrote "Solution to Fake News". Ironically, this very web page you are on is one aspect of that solution. Notice -- there is no advertising. The original article, however, was from a previous dispensation when I posted articles to WordPress. Because I am so cheap, I do not pay WordPress for a service that I otherwise get from my cloud provider. As a result, I have to allow them to advertise. The advertisements leave a lot to be desired, probably the bottom of the barrel when it comes to laissez-faire capitalism. Because I was embarrassed about the advertisements, I decided to move my more recent articles to this site.
Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, recently posted the results of a survey that pretty well re-enforces one of the points I made with my Fake News article. The number one thing that respondents pointed to as a solution is education -- how do you determine what is fake? Or better yet, who is responsible for telling us?
The overwhelming response was education, at 86%. 76% believed that "tools" would evolve to make it more possible to qualify information. At the bottom, only 37% thought government might be the answer (heaven forbid).
Yes -- there is hope for America! Excuse me -- the world! Afterall, Mozilla is a global product. What the respondents affirmed was that determining what is "fake" is a combination of several factors, but principally self-responsibility is the best solution. It was interesting that "tools" was a popular pick. We often forget how fast the technology evolves and there is confidence out there that tools will emerge that help us triangulate information and qualify sources.
How protection from fake news is delivered is, however, a bit controversial as respondents overwhelmingly pointed to the "platforms," such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. Good luck with that. Their attempts, so far, have been clumsy. If anything, it shows that the censorship is biased towards the left. In the long term, if the "platforms" proceed to censor benign conservative voices, don't be surprised to find emerging on the market competitors to Facebook and Twitter. Their task is almost quixotic as they are being bombarded with millions, if not billions, of fraudulent traffic per day.
The best solution will be the emergence of "tools", tags that accompany articles that may provide helpful information regarding the nature of the source and possibly an index that readers can utilize to determine if the news item has other sources or a measure of fact checks. Whether we use the tools will be our decision.
In conclusion, read my article again and try following the advice. You, and no one else, are the best protection against fake news. Educate yourself.
By Eric Niewoehner
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