BBI of Chicago
The Era of Disinformation and its Impact on Life in Society
By: Cláudia Cividini.
Online information can be an ally or a big problem that cannot be solved quickly. Nowadays, amid a pandemic caused by Covid-19, and also with the economic crisis and politics that is happening in Brazil, the so-called “fake news” is constantly present, and it makes a public, which is predisposed to believe in them, start spreading false information. These are often unreasonable, and so their dissemination gets faster and more dangerous. I seek through this argumentative essay to explain my opinion about the referred theme with the support of bibliography material available during the course and the research extra class.
Nowadays the internet shows itself as a crucial tool in people’s lives, whether in studies, work, or entertainment. These technological advances substitute what, years ago, would be the television, the radio, or the newspaper, becoming the main information base for many Brazilians. The benefits of free access to information are evident, but there are some inconveniences found in this scenario, as the spread of untrue facts, popular known as “fake news.”
For the Brazilian Institute of Criminal Sciences (IBCCRIM, 2020) to verify the truthiness in publicized news is one of the challenges that the internet shows. Add to the fact that, in the old days, a rumor would not travel to another city. However, with the power of technology, it can become easily globally known and with unpredictable consequences.
According to Wardle (2017), we cannot use the term fake news because this expression is too ambiguous and simplistic to handle, both its nature and its scale. The disinformation ecosystem is huge, and it can go from sarcastic comic strips, not trustable websites, headlines to call attention to news related to politics and economics, making it so that a large part of the population is affected by it.
In Brazil, we have a big problem related to this disinformation ecosystem because we culturally are a country that reads and gets enquired with little related to subjects about politics and economics. The population tends to read only the news headlines that, most of the time, are sensationalist.
To change this behavior, we need a mediatic education that, according to Wardle (2017, p. 01):
“[…] Even if schools start today to teach children about disinformation, the result will come up in 20 years. But even so, this is an urgent task. Besides informing them about the ways that information can be manipulated, mediatic education needs to discuss the bias concept of confirmation (which is the human tendency to remember, to interpret, or to search for information that confirms beliefs or initial hypotheses). Understanding the confirmation bias will allow children to learn how to question mostly about content that stimulates emotional answers. […]”
Only education brings change. It is only through education that we can create a more knowledgeable population. One that knows how to find trustworthy information sources and knows the best future for itself.
WARDLE, C. Combater a desinformação é como varrer as ruas. 2017. Available in: Claire Wardle: combater a desinformação é como varrer as ruas | Observatório da Imprensa (observatoriodaimprensa.com.br) Access in June 28th, 2021.
IBCCRIM. Instituto Brasileiro de Ciências Criminais. Technical Note. 2020. Available in: doc-07-04-2020-14-13-41-786351.pdf (ibccrim.org.br) Access in July 2nd, 2021.