There are people, no doubt with good intentions, who interpret the spread of “conspiracy theories” through social media as proof that we need protecting from ourselves:
Ultimately, we need our best minds playing both offense and defense if we are going to reduce the prevalence and impact of conspiracist influence both online, and in real life. How do we do that?
We need a shift in how we design our ever-evolving social platforms. The very structure and incentives in social networks have brought us to this point. Our platform designers themselves should be considering what steps they can take to bring us back.
This is the flip side of Sen. John Thune’s call for a Senate investigation into Facebook’s “trending news” algorithm (and when and how Facebook’s human curators choose to override it).
Ultimately, our only defense should be critical thinking. Don’t believe everything you read. Don’t get all your news from Facebook. Read sources that challenge your views.
And that applies to the author of the linked article — who, maybe not coincidentally, is a pro-vaxxer, a volunteer for an organization that worked to pass California’s SB-277, the bill that removed the personal belief vaccine exemption for children attending day care and schools, both public and private.
We do NOT want the government, social media platform developers, or social justice warriors determining what is “true” before allowing it to reach our eyes.