After all the Political process, scandals, meetings, press conference, after Donald Trump won the American Election, everybody had been to feel a huge concern about how media, particularly, digital media can and had already influenced the mind of thousands of citizens, whom are being exposed to messages out of the regular mainstream of big corporations like CNN, FOX News, ABC, CBS, among others.
The situation had provoked such a chaotic situation, even Mark Zuckerberg had expressed his concern about how could he establish a proper censorship to avoid the misinformation from Russian hackers or another sources got into the regular mainstream information provided in the News feed. The FBI got involved to investigate the multiple meetings between Trump’s family members and high ranked members in the Russian Government.
The conspiracy theorists had been enjoying a big amount of ideas about the possibility of Trump’s team having the support of Russian hackers uploading and exposing a of American audience to fake information and interfere in the mindset of American citizens before the elections. Given to the use of social media, tracking and reading news on any regular website a very harsh and dangerous perception for anybody who would end up being guided, as well as, the public opinion involved in this practice. Nowadays, it is possible more than 60% of the population only in America.
Nobody ignores the relevant goal of Governments to track, control, influence and transform the way they and we communicate information. However, the digital convergence of media has increased the possibilities for hackers, and “some actors” to use their knowledge to manipulate and affect in multiple forms what local or international audiences are watching and feeling. And Trump’s election is a good example of what kind of future we could expect, in case of ignoring or risking everything even democracy itself to save it from the convergence of technology and media.
Remember the first lesson in communication for convincing people is moving their feelings not their brains so, fear was a relevant aspect promoted in the last American election, especially, after the high number of Terrorist attacks in the International context, which was used wisely by Trump to win votes during his campaign. In this context how and why would professionals, experts, communication specialist, developers, scientists, Economic and Financial gurus to use something like fear for giving an alert about technology in the digital context? It is simple, it is the only way to make people put attention. A few weeks ago I read an article about how the German government was promoting awareness of some toys, which became really popular during the last December.
The message was clear: Parents should control the kind of security their children will have when they play with toys with high possibility of having connectivity to Internet. The reason was simple there was not security in whom would have access to the system, which implied anybody would be able to hack and learn from the information provided by their child. This is a good example of how fear works in some contexts. It provokes people pay attention., so CEO and co-founder, Patrick Collinson, should have tried to understand for someone well-informed in tech jargon everything will sound as a great opportunity but the majority of the population did not belong to this group. It is not necessarily impossible to change, if you analyse that has been part of developing human learning skills since our grandparents were children and they taught them common sense related to harmful elements around us.
Sometimes, the real risk of having this kind of situation is experts, investors, among others who are trying to diminish the risk implied in using digital technology, which is in the best consideration for CEO’s who had control over thousand of millions of bytes in sensitive information running through their platforms and getting archived in massive data centers. Risks are real for the prosummers as the example of how hackers were using Youtube for stealing cryptocurrencies from Bitcoin accounts
Censorship in the Post-truth era
The question about who could solve it appear after I read an article with Teresa May, UK Prime Minister, whom was considering to start a war over fake news. Her project is creating a team or National Security Communication Unit “to tackling fake news and disinformation online.” Even when there is no such excessive detail about who, how and the budget required to complete the successful idea. Perhaps, giving more detailed information could be the first step to avoid misinformation or offering the opportunity to “some actors” of distorting the information provided but Official sources.
Meanwhile, in Australia the Government has chosen to endorse a hard legislation towards mainstream media and Journalists, whom in case of having documents for their research would face punishment, which only could provoke more misinformation. Also, diminishing the quality of journalists’ job when they are not able to use documents without authorization.
Censorship against journalists shouldn’t be the solution. The real position is reinforced the value of sources, which provide information with substance and veracity. If we attack this kind of source, how could we expect to increase the value and trust in media. Particularly, when in some countries is not trusted at all.
Different CEOs who manage different Media groups would reinforce similar measures as the ones taking by Zuckerberg, however, the question is how could we transform the Post-truth era in the deep sense of the word. It is not so difficult to see how the United States avoid to sign the Paris Climate Deal to protect the environment and this week Paris was looking more like Venice rather than the regular urban area we are used to. How could we tackle that kind of contradictions about things we all noticed but we’d prefer to make like we hadn’t seen or noticed because we did not have enough energy to fight against it while it is happening in a different place.
More than ever, finding a common place can be difficult, however, the media crisis faced by different Western countries under the cyber attack of countries like Russia or China is making the Cold War in a more dangerous scenario, where you don’t need special agents traveling across the Ocean to commit an atrocity to manipulate people’s mind and perception, and also their votes. You only need the right guy sitting in a small office working with a laptop and Internet connectivity, enough creativity to alter the humour of the reader and you can even change the History of any country.
Perhaps, the possibility of offering what Journals in the past used to do…bring, at least, a complete story with all the sides of the people, organisations and details involved, as well as, the facts out of any version to contrast the truth from the noise, that would let the reader assimilate under his own values a criteria, then an opinion. Yes, in the era of modern journalism, where everyone can act like one, it looks like it is more than necessary having a real good one.