What Happens When Misinformation Is Sucked Up by Smart Software? Maybe Nothing?

February 22, 2023

I noted an article called “New Research Finds Rampant Misinformation Spreading on WhatsApp within Diasporic Communities.” The source is the Daily Targum. I mention this because the news source is the Rutgers University Campus news service. The article provides some information about a study of misinformation on that lovable Facebook property WhatsApp.

Several points in the article caught my attention:

  1. Misinformation on WhatsApp caused people to be killed; Twitter did its part too
  2. There is an absence of fact checking
  3. There are no controls to stop the spread of misinformation

What is interesting about studies conducted by prestigious universities is that often the findings are neither novel nor surprising. In fact, nothing about social media companies reluctance to spend money or launch ethical methods is new.

What are the consequences? Nothing much: Abusive behavior, social disruption, and, oh, one more thing, deaths.

Stephen E Arnold, February 22, 2023


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