Fake News Is Not the Only Problem

With increased political polarization, amplified by homophily — our preference to connect to people like us — and algorithmic recommender systems, we’re effectively constructing our own realities. While admitting I’ve never heard of this word ‘homophily’ and don’t know what it means, I think this article by Gilad Lotan makes cogent points about how technology has changed not just our reality but our perception of reality, too. read more


3 thoughts on “Fake News Is Not the Only Problem

  1. Hmmm, interesting… I looked up ‘homophily’. According to Wiki: Homophily (i.e., “love of the same”) is the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with similar others.

    I am, however, unconvinced of this author’s arguments. He is dismissing a number of things as ‘fake news’ without stating his reasons for doing so. Our MSM here in the US has reported a boatload of news that was proven to be biased and/ or fake. Now people are taking matters into their own hands. While some attention hounds are definitely ‘making stuff up’, a lot of what is being reported by indie journalists has actually been researched with a good deal of sophistication and sources such as WikiLeaks, FBI documents, etc.

  2. Christine, Homophily is very similar to homophyly, a word that means ‘resemblance due to common ancestry’ but is seldom used. Homophily is a new word, invented by social scientists to explain the behaviour of social network users. I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last to observe social science became a science the day they started making up their own language. People bond. They find common interests. So bikers hang out at a bikers’ club, not the local bingo hall.
    News was being made up, twisted and distorted, long before the arrival of the internet. Now the ‘net is here, it comes with its own dangers, like the propagation of complete crap, dressed up as news.
    What people need to learn to do is check their sources. Finding a source is one thing. Then you must authenticate it, independently and you need to confirm that source’s story, from an independent source. It’s a tough call and it’s called journalism (I know, I did it for 25 years). There was a time when you could rely on the reputation and experience of the journalist but newspaper publishers sold them out for immediate profits. Now, we have social scientists making up words to explain activity that already has a name, you have internet companies who write and sell fake stories and curiously, a shift in the paradigm of communication, we are now told, away from the written word to one based on digitized movement and images.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s