How, Fake News and Disinformation Deteriorate Democratic Values and Polarization of Our Society



How, Fake News and Disinformation Deteriorate Democratic Values and Polarization of Our Society

How Fake News and Discrimination Deteriorate Democratic Values and Optimization of Our Society

The large-scale propagation of disinformation and fake news, particularly on social media is often being referred to as infodemic. It is similar to a pandemic where fake news spreads rapidly into society, leading to massive polarization in our society and the subversion of democracy. This disinformation propaganda and fake news existed for many centuries, even when we had traditional forms of media. But social media has been a game-changer for the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories, primarily because of its reach, which has been powered by the deep penetration of smart devices and the internet. So this gives social media platforms tremendous reach to millions of people around the world and accompanied with this reach all the data that they harvest could be easily manipulated and exploited to carry out social engineering. That is to engineer to society on several divides that are already prevalent in society. This includes religious divide racial divide ethnic divide. And these divides could be exploited on social media, to polarize the society, then through social engineering carried out through social media. The opinion and the behavior of the individual could also be modified and this eventually leads to the subversion of democracy.

So who are the actors involved in promoting fake news disinformation and propaganda? First, we have political parties, and maybe the government of a country. They would engage in the spread of propaganda disinformation to manipulate the political opinion of the subjects and this is primarily done with the intent of subverting elections and with the intent of changing public opinion on controversial subjects that even hostile countries, particularly to their intelligence agencies, they can reach a cold war against a target country to social engineering. They can exploit the existing devices the society and further destabilize the country, and they could even rely upon proxy elements for this purpose, such as non-state actors, including terrorist outfits. Even terror groups are known to engage in social engineering, to promote radicalism and recruitment and a classic example is the penetration of ISIS ideology on social media that even private organizations could engage in social engineering by promoting targeted propaganda and disinformation to alter consumer behavior, and consumption patterns, for profit.

So in this age of disinformation. How do you deal with this infodemic? The answer lies in basic fact-checking as disinformation has evolved, even fact-checking is evolving, and even though it is very hard to combat fake news, especially on social media, thorough fact-checking by media outlets and usage of technology and AI algorithms by social media giants to filter out fake news and efforts by government and civil society, to promote responsible behavior on social media would help tackle the menace of fake news through fact-checking.

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