The world is in a technological pickle. Globalization is such that someone in Morocco can speak to someone in Indonesia instantly, without ever having met before. Yet, as information becomes easier to access, it also becomes easier to corrupt. That’s why, according to a recent press release, U.S. diplomat, Scott Busby traveled to Taiwan to speak about how what you read and post on social media could strengthen democracy on a global scale.
False social media puts the world at risk
There is a real danger in spreading false information. In his speech, Bubsy said of those who falsify news: “While the methods of these hostile actors continually evolve, their motivations generally remain the same: to sow discord on a mass scale in order to try to weaken democracies, and ultimately to undermine the appeal of democracy itself. We cannot let them succeed.”
Why? Because, according to Busby, democracy is the form of government that most lends itself toward human rights. False information threatens these ideals.
Busby said, “disinformation is a threat to all democracies.” He did not say this only in light of Russia hacking U.S. elections, but also is in regards to recent efforts of various governments to silence journalists. Bubsy specifically referred to Burma and their military’s efforts to cover up information. Another prominent example is the Saudi journalist who was recently tortured and killed by his government.
Save the world: be a social media superhero
Is there any way to be part of the solution? You might have more power than you realize. Given Busby’s statement, simply being smarter about what we read is key to protecting democracy – across the globe. To prevent spreading misinformation we need to be more vigilant than ever. According to Forbes there are five key ways to prevent falling for misinformation.
- Always check author qualifications
- Ask yourself: Are the sources credible?
- Think Critically
- Read articles in their entirety
- Use a fact checker.
Make the world a better place: Check your sources. Value accuracy. Think about what you read. Stand for truth. And shine light on the world.
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