Monday 8 February 2021 | 7:00pm
We all think we’re wise enough to spot fake news.
But do we unwittingly forward it on in our own social media? Many of us do, often with good motives and the right impulses, without realising we’re being misled.
The advent of digital media promised to democratise access to information, opening up possibilities for voices who would no longer need to prove their validity and significance to the gatekeepers of traditional media, such as the broadcast channels and mass-circulation newspapers. And to some extent this has happened.
But we’ve all heard of ‘clickbait’ news, where all that matters is attracting your eyeballs, if only for seconds. And now that there’s the technology to create fake videos where faces and voices are transposed, how can we trust anything we see or hear?
Donald Trump has openly called journalists ‘the enemy’, further prompting authoritarian governments worldwide to harass, arrest, and even murder journalists who report unpalatable truths. Cambridge Analytica mined the personal details of millions of Facebook users to influence how they voted – and if they voted at all. Now the ‘big data’ companies (Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon) can know you better than you know yourself. Indeed, many experts say the way digital media works is broken, and that public interest media organisations are fatally threatened. Purveyors of false information are taking advantage of all of this to influence us.
Christians claim to know the truth, which will set us free. But how do we discern the ‘truth’ in the midst of a technological revolution just as significant as the printing of the Gutenberg Bible?
Julia brings her long experience of sifting false from fact to help us discern reliable sources of information and be alert to the ways news can be manipulated.