The New York Times Discovers Misinformation

October 7, 2022

Fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories are never going to stop. In the past, fake news was limited to rumors, gossip, junk rags at the grocery store check-out counter, and weird newsletters. Now this formerly niche “news” industry is a lucrative market with the Internet and constant need to capture audiences. The New York Times braved the media trenches to discover new insights about this alluring and dangerous field in: “A Journey Into The Misinformation Fever Swamps.”

Several New York Times writers make their living tracking news fraudsters, such as Tiffany Hsu, Sheera Frenkel, and Stuart A. Thompson. The conversation between the author and these three centers around hot topic issues. When it comes to the new 2022 election cycle, the same misinformation spread during the 2016 election is circling. The topics include voter fraud and how foreign powers are interfering with the election process.

What the three interviewees and the author found alarming is how predominant misinformation is and how bad actors exploit it for profit. It is alarming how much power misinformation yearly gains:

“America’s own disinformation problem has only gotten much worse. About 70 percent of Republicans suspect fraud in the 2020 presidential election. That’s millions and millions of people. They are extremely devoted to these theories, based on hardly any evidence, and will not be easily swayed to another perspective. That belief created a cottage industry of influencers, conferences and organizations devoted to converting the conspiracy theory into political results, including running candidates in races from election board to governor and passing laws that limit voting access.

And it’s working.’

There is mutual agreement that social media companies are not in a good place with misinformation, but they should be responsible for moderating information posted on their platforms. Social media platforms assisted the spread of misinformation during COVID and the past two elections. They should invest in content moderation programs to keep facts clear.

Content moderation programs walk the fine line between freedom of speech and censorship, but the old example of crying wolf is apt. It would be great if loudmouth Karens and Kevins were shut down.

Whitney Grace, October 7, 2022


2 Responses to “The New York Times Discovers Misinformation”

  1. Measuring How Badly Social Media Amplifies Misinformation : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search on October 26th, 2022 7:00 am

    […] its ongoing examination of misinformation online, the New York Times tells us about the Integrity Institute‘s quest […]

  2. Will the Musker Keep Amplification in Mind? : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search on November 4th, 2022 7:12 am

    […] its ongoing examination of misinformation online, the New York Times tells us about the Integrity Institute‘s quest […]

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