In recent years, trust has not been having a good run and there have been substantial concerns that the use of the internet could be the major contributor to the issue. For starters, the internet wasn’t created with security protections and trust issues in mind. Those who designed it did not focus on how users could wreck the system deliberately.
What is causing this mistrust on the internet?
Digital technology has become a defining feature of our modern life. However, the internet is today acting as the medium for the privacy of the consumers being compromised through various techniques that are employed for users to fall victim to bad actors and scams. The following are the most common reasons trust has declined on internet platforms:
Too much content
The rise of social media and other platforms has enabled entirely new forms of communities and relationships. It’s challenging to monitor or control what goes on in each social platform. Besides, there is too much content that social media platforms do not know which to leave up and those to pull down.
No quality assurance
The world today is exploding with information of unclear provenance used by people who employ ever-proliferating approaches to capture the attention of users. Unfortunately, there is no existing quality assurance and any person can post anything they want, including false or misleading content that is tied to some truths. In most cases, the information has not been checked for accuracy.
Inadequate government regulations
The government lacks the public interest to monitor and regularize usage and sharing of content. Its motivation tends to be towards national security and pays little attention to the user’s rights to personal security and privacy protections. In fact, under the current system, virtually all the risks of breaches are borne by authoritative entities trying to fix the misinformation internet issues.
Corporate models are tuned to making their profits. Also, some sites have sponsors who pay for specific content that is used to promote their ideas and products. The information might be impartial but is usually biased. Besides, some sites voice opinions instead of making informed arguments while others seek to scandalize and breed controversy.
Organized misleading news
Rather than using the digital platforms to inform people and promote civic discussion, some individuals are taking advantage by deceiving, misleading, and even harming others through the creation of biased information.
Journalists are often accused of generating fake news and there have even been several cases of legitimate journalists being arrested or their work being subjected to official scrutiny. When misleading news shifts from sporadic and haphazard to organized and systematic efforts, they become disinformation campaigns with the potential of disrupting digital usage.
What can you do?
Here is how you can help transform the internet into a place of trust:
The way in which data is handled including its monetization should be fully transparent. That will help the users to make more informed decisions on how they want to use internet applications and services. Transparency will empower the users to determine the fate of their data and thus fostering trust. Firms and individuals can borrow the inspiration from Wikipedia, where besides transparency the website offers a platform for users to share their insights.
Digital media is more global than traditional. In addition, privacy as well as personal data issues are highly complex. An international, multi-stakeholder body would play a significant role in transcending borders and engaging the non-industry stakeholders meaningfully. Besides, this body should be a true partnership between governments, industry, and civil society that will all support it without being driven by individual interests.
Invest in Algorithms
Technology firms should invest in technology that can determine fake news and identify it for users through crowdsourcing and algorithms. Different innovations in detecting fake news and hoaxes should be encouraged. For instance, fake news detection can be automated and social media platforms should invest in them. Besides, ideas such as public interest algorithms can help in identifying and publicizing misleading and false news posts and hence will be a valuable tool to protect users.
Better government regulations
The government and public authorities should ensure that the terms of service are concise, clear, and apparent. Every entity should have policies that are clearly understandable and not hidden. So, when it comes to delicate stipulations in fine print, companies should increase the font size as well as using plain language.
Avoid adding your voice to ideas that you know are untrue
Today, many people are sharing ideas and content to get views or look good. Just because the content is what you think people want to see doesn’t make it good. You should share things that you believe are true to your ability. Remember that every time you click the share button or publish any content; you are tying a piece of your credibility.
Correctly site and link facts
People and the media have been using weak or bad sources to back up their ideas. It is very unfortunate that someone can link a piece of content A to an article B that has a link to an old study. When examined closely, the link does not even align with the points in the article A that it was supposed to back up. The least you can do is to verify what you are citing so you do not spread misinformation. On the other hand, do not leave users wondering if the info on the sites is true or make them start digging around to find out whether it is. Make it easy for them to trust the info by offering credible sources and citing resources properly.
The internet is a wonderful thing that connects and educates us. However, it is far outpacing privacy, security, and reliability. The issue will continue to intensify with the Internet of things, as technology connects more machines in the physical world. Therefore, proactive steps should be taken to rebuild trust and set the course for a healthy digital world where companies and individuals are empowered to participate in their own terms. In fact, everyone has a responsibility to combat this scourge of misinformation internet.