Online extremism: the dangers and the psychology

Online extremism–through social media and other channels–is real and is very dangerous. The events of January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in the United States show that plainly. We must all be better, more critical users of social media–if you choose to use social media. The overriding motivation of Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, and other platforms is to drive user traffic to make…

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How and why does false information spread online?

How does false information/”fake news” spread through social media and web sites? And, why does it? We are told–frequently–by legitimate, trusted sources and the very people and organizations who create disinformation that a significant proportion of what we view is fake and has been deliberately created to sow discord and distrust, to make us not believe and to tear us apart. So, do we trust…

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Technology will not protect us from human weakness–and can make it worse

“When we think about misinformation … we tend to focus on the presence of bad information — but really we should be focusing on the presence of doubt.” “A platform like YouTube or Facebook can claim to be building a “marketplace of ideas” by algorithmically presenting, say, a story about a new vaccine alongside a story claiming vaccines are dangerous. But what it is really…

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Oscar Wilde quote

Revisiting: Understand the context of information important to you; reduce the fear and anxiety

Knowledge brings understanding; understanding reduces fear and anxiety.  Understand the value of the information that is important to your life; use that understanding to make your own decisions.  Do not let others make important decisions for you! To gain understanding, to reduce fear use these guidelines — Seek information, not affirmation: are you looking just to find people who agree with you?  Be honest with…

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Updated: A new world disorder?

It may seem like absolutely everyone today is glued to their phones and uses social media incessantly. Facebook, the largest social media network globally, claims “over 2.7 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2020.” Billions do use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), but billions also do not. Further, there are many people counted as “active users” who simply are…

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Why should you critically evaluate information? Because of situations like this …

A key part of information evaluation is to understand the context in which the information was created. What is the motivation? Why was the information presented in that particular way? It could be use of certain words, specific images, formatting, color, etc.? Putting or displaying the information in a particular place? Why is it being done that way? What emotion do they want you to…

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