South Africa: A Real Reason for the Powerful to Fight Disinformation

opinion

Technology, the social media platforms, our algorithms, our digital policy and approaches won't be democratic and will not serve our democracy; unless we make them.

Until recently it hasn't been in the interest of those with power to make our digital reality work for our democracy. It has been, and largely remains the case, that profits trump (yes that person too) ethics, principle and democracy.

The good news is that the same profit motivation has helped spread one of our modern scourges and democratic threats - disinformation. While not intentional, the profit above all has helped bring us to a "post-truth" era, where some suggest facts, reality, science and evidence no longer matter.

To be clear, disinformation isn't good news, it is a profound threat to democracy precisely because it seeks to disempower, and prevent people from knowing not just what's true and what isn't, but also what's real and what isn't.

"Anti-vaccers" don't have to offer any real counter to vaccinations, they just have to create sufficient doubt and fear that people no longer know what to believe, and are left in perpetual limbo. Disinformation undermines people's ability to make informed choices, and to act.

So, where's the good...

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