Misinformation Age?

In this knowledgeable society, under which the world experiences the most dramatic changes in social communication, a danger lurks in us: misinformation.

Curiously, the more news and information social media broadcast, the greater rush of false or manipulated news will run in parallel, causing a serious crisis of confidence in the public, who often lack time to verify the authenticity.

This dilemma is so real that a recent study by the Reynolds Institute of Journalism has established that a third of the American population believes that the media offers truthful information, which indicates that most people apprehend its reliability.

This explains, to a large extent, why the large information providers, such as Facebook and Google, as well as the world’s largest brand newspapers, strive to create filters and algorithms such as secure partitions against faked and made up news, going like this, against the misinformation trend.

A level of growing distrust only hurts democracy, because it deprives citizens of the right be informed and have an opinion about the realities that impact their lives, with minimal margins for mistakes.

No debate can shed light and solutions to a social problem if it is contaminated by “adulterated realities” or untrue, and in this context the role of the media, whether traditional or modern, such as those that predominate in this digital era, is to preserve at all costs the professional journalism, journalism that puts quality before deception or manipulation of news.

In the case of the traditional press, that is and should be its sacred commitment if it wants to preserve its status as intermediary in any human conglomerate. And this is only achieved by projecting reliability with unfailing news.

But it must also be the badge of digital media and social networks, in the feverish daily struggle to provide information to large audiences, they must avoid the temptation to resort to untrue news to achieve more alignment with readers or users.

Something common in the digital media is the profusion of advertising deceptive advices regarding diverse common interest topics, but in reality, none of these could possibly work, most of the topics revolve around healthcaring issues, such as formulas that promise a stop to aging or obesity.

If mutilating the truth becomes an epidemic exercise, the “Era of misinformation” will not take long to completely surface, and its first symptoms are already experienced by us today with the progressive degradation of the credible and authentic information.

The struggle, then, of good journalism, is between the defense of truth against falsehood, so that it does not break or discredit the formidable convergence of platforms that have been created with the primary purpose of guaranteeing the freedom of speech, which is the ground of democracy, the only system in which freedom, a scarce and fragile good, can shine to guarantee the orderly and peaceful coexistence of all the citizens.

Translated from spanish by Randy Rodriguez.