Online misinformation works, or it may seem so. One of more interesting statistics after the general election in the UK in 2019, 88% of advertisements posted on the social networks by the Conservative Party put forward numbers that were already recognized as misleading by the leading British fact-finding organization, Full Fact. And, of course, the conservatives won the election with an acceptable margin.
Internet firms such as facebook and google taking some steps to limit political misinformation. But with Donald Trump while striving for re-election in 2020, it is likely that this year we will see as many false or misleading statements as in the past. The Internet and, in particular, social networks, in fact, have become a space where everyone can spread any claims that he likes, regardless of their veracity.
But to what extent do people really believe in what they read on the Internet, and what effect does disinformation actually have? Ask people directly and most I will tell you that they do not believe news they see on social networks. And landmark study in 2019, 43% of social network users admitted that they themselves shared inaccurate content. So people, of course, in principle know that misinformation is common on the Internet.
But ask people how they learned about the “facts” that support their political views, and the answer will often be social networks. A more complex analysis of the situation shows that for many people the source of political information is simply less important than how it fits with their existing views.
UK Brexit Referendum Study 2017 found that voters often reported making decisions based on extremely false arguments. For example, one voter claimed that Brexit would stop the seizure of the British main street by foreign companies such as Costa Coffee (which was British at the time). Similarly, the Staying Alive voter spoke of the massive deportations of any non-UK resident if the country left the EU – a much more extreme policy than any policy put forward by the politicians during the campaign.
During the 2017 election, survey respondents raised various claims that unfairly questioned the humanity of conservative leader Theresa May. For example, some falsely claimed that she had passed laws that caused flammable cladding to be placed on the outside of the Grenfell Tower, a London apartment building that caught fire in June 2017, killing 72 people. Others called her Labor opponent Jeremy Corbin sympathetic to terrorists or a victim of a conspiracy to discredit him by military and industrial elites. A common feature was that these voters received information in support of their arguments from social networks.
How can we explain the obvious paradox that knowledge of social networks is full of misinformation and yet relies on it to form political views? We need to look more broadly at what has become known as post truth environmentThis includes the skepticism of all official news sources, relying on existing beliefs and prejudices derived from deeply rooted prejudices, and searching for information that confirms bias as opposed to critical thinking.
People judge information about whether they consider it plausible, in contrast to whether it is supported by evidence. Sociologist Lisbeth van Zoonen calls it the replacement of epistemology – the science of knowledge – “i-pistemology” – the practice of making personal judgments.
The lack of trust in elite sources, in particular politicians and journalists, does not fully explain this large-scale rejection of critical thinking. But psychology can provide some potential answers. Daniel Kahneman and Amos of Tver developed a series of experiments in which they studied under what conditions people are likely to rush to conclusions on a specific topic. They approve intelligence has little effect on the adoption of uninformed judgments.
Intelligence tests demonstrate the ability to perform logical reasoning, but cannot predict that they will be performed at any time when necessary. As I betwe need to understand the context of people's decisions.
The average undecided voter is bombarded with arguments from political leaders, especially in marginal places or vacillating states that can influence the outcome of an election. Each politician offers an edited policy report of his opponents. And voters know that each of these politicians is trying to convince them, and therefore they remain healthy skepticism.
The average voter also has a busy life. They have a job, perhaps a family, paid bills and hundreds of urgent issues that need to be addressed in everyday life. They know the importance of voting and making the right decision, but they are struggling to navigate the disputed electoral communication that they receive. They want a simple answer to this long-held mystery of who deserves my voice more or less.
Therefore, instead of conducting a systematic critical analysis of each evidence they encounter, they look for specific problems that, in their opinion, drive a wedge between competing politicians. This is where fake news and misinformation can be powerful. No matter how much we would like to think that we are able to notice fake news and be skeptical of what we are told, we are ultimately susceptible to any information, which makes it easier to make a decision that seems right, even if it may be wrong in the long run .