CONSPIRACY THEORY AND HARASSMENT
WHY IS CONSPIRACY THEORY SO PREVALENT?
WHY IS IT SO EASY TO FALL VICTIM TO HOAXES & FAKE NEWS?
Not long ago, it was pretty easy to tell the deference between a respected, vetted, news source and someone’s opinion based blog. News readers with authoritative voices, great production quality, and a recognized broadcast name were easy to differentiate from some angry ranter with a WordPress or Blogger page.
However, as news sources moved away from factual, hard-boiled, recitation of events and into more analysis, opinion and entertainment based formats, consumers began to question media bias. At the same time, technology advanced allowing just about anyone to easily and cheaply create a professional looking website that is virtually indistinguishable from the recognized names.
As humans, we are biologically programmed to reinforce information that fits with what we already know or think that we know and to reject ideas that don’t conform. Because of this inherent bias in us all, we tend to rely on news sources that align with our political beliefs and accept what we read or hear from those sources. Now that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between a source of accurate information and opinion or misinformation, we are all in greater risk of believing and spreading falsehoods.
45% OF ONLINE VICTIMS
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report that they suffered mental or emotional distress from online harassment. Additionally, more than half also experienced other off line effects, including damage to their reputation at work, problems in their personal relationships, and attacks that include offline harassment, stalking, and threats.*
Together, through empowerment, education, and advocacy we can effect change and create a safer more inclusive online experience for all.
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