Internet Vulnerability: How Credible is Information?
Gurbir Brar, Question 3
In Alexander Tesar’s article, titled “Checking Facts in a Post- Truth World”, questions the credibility and reliability of the information provided on the internet. It has become essential to check the facts before taking it as a fact. Tesar highlights that the horrendous disadvantage of the usage of internet in all walks of life cannot be overlooked. It’s high time to realise that the content people consume via the internet is not credible enough. Moreover, the article suggests the content available online should be used wisely to live a quality life. Additionally, Tesar comments that if people care about the facts, they have to pay for them. It is suggested that this should help promote factual content and not just economical content. Due to the increasing fake information online, it, therefore, has become significant to determine the credible source on the internet and evaluate web resources.
Needless to say, the internet has become a fascinating source of information. In today’s era, people gather information from any part of the world sitting at any corner of the world within seconds. It has managed to yield widespread use. This is because the internet is very quick and convenient and it does provide help in so many ways. However, the major problem is that it is not easy to determine the credibility of the information provided on the internet. One of the examples is the information about the US election which was categorically false despite the top search result of Google.
In its early days, the internet was a repository of information where the content was published and maintained only by expert coders. From a historical perspective, information and facts were published on the internet and the people could make their opinions on that. Today, however, immense quantities of information are the opinions of the people rather than proven facts. For now, people are all commentators, creators and publishers, like in the case of top three hits related to “Sweden multiculturalism”, which lead to misinformation and hate.
The reason behind checking facts is that there are a large number of people who voice their own opinions on everyday topics. The information provided on the internet might be interesting, not all of them are proven or are based upon fact. There are also websites which are user edited. This allows anyone to edit the information available on the site at any time. These websites or other site which is not scholarly should be avoided at the time of academic research or for other significant work. However, doing this is not an easy task.
The very first step is to refine your web addresses to one which ends in .gov, .net, .org, .edu, or .mil. These sites are more credible than the sites which end in .com, as they are monitored sites. If still, the information is not available from these domains listed, then sites which cannot be edited by users should be used. Also, it is always a good habit to verify the information on the site by doing another research. If any of the sites are saying the same thing, then it is easy to believe that the information is reliable.
It is observed that a lot of fake online news are economically motivated. A lot of the technologies that we rely on for information are profit-driven. In contrast, the old gatekeepers of information like libraries were publicly funded. They were also publicly accountable, unlike technology companies.
There is always a solution to any problem. The people need to support public-interest journalism if they care about facts. They should also support the news organisations that care about getting their stories right. Moreover, the investment can be made in libraries and people should be encouraged to use them. As a responsible citizen, everyone can push the technology organisations to be held accountable in case they trade in misinformation.
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