Fake News and the Fall of Globalization

What seems to be the latest Russian specialty of the house (here, here and here), fake news have shaped people’s mind in recent years. Fueled by abused search engine algorithms and social websites, fake news have risen to the top and have been identified as the main contributor to recent unexpected results such as Brexit and Trump.

However, fake news are just one side of the coin. What has not been discussed so far and should be is why are fake news, and news in general, so powerful. If you don’t know what I’m talking about just take a look at the USA. According to Gallup around 43% of US citizens think ill of Muslims. However this number is a bit baffling when you take into account that the Muslim population in most of the states is below 1%.

“The only Muslims people in the USA seem to hear about are those who make it to the news. When you consider that the only news that sells is bad news, then you can understand why people in the USA are skeptic about Muslims.”

 

While it’s easy to fear and hate the unknown, US citizens (USers) don’t hate other ethnicities nearly as much. So how do you get nearly half of one of the biggest countries to hate Muslims? Statistics and psychology might provide an answer. Specifically when you take into account which sample of the Islamic population do USers get to know about. The only Muslims people in the USA seem to hear about are those who make it to the news. And when you consider that the only news that sells is bad news, you can understand why people in the USA are skeptic about Muslims.

Skewed, non-statistically significant samples are just part of the problem. If you add to it the tendency of mass delusion and generalization then you end up with the Islamic hate in the USA.

Mass delusion refers to the phenomenon where non-factual information can be taken as valid as long as everyone around the person thinks the same. Basically how gossip spreads around.

Generalization refers to the tendency to generalize specific situations to entire populations. Eg you meet a person from country XYZ who was rude, you then quickly assume everyone in XYZ is rude.

 

“Fake news is a big problem, there’s no doubt about it. However it has uncovered a series of fundamental flaws in common thinking. Understanding and learning about our humanly biases is key in dealing with the modern flood of information we receive everyday, whether fake or not.”

 

Fake news is a big problem, there’s no doubt about it. However it has uncovered a series of fundamental flaws in common thinking. Understanding and learning about our humanly biases is key in dealing with the modern flood of information we receive everyday, whether fake or not. Reading this book will probably open your eyes to the series of fallacies that there exists.

Imagine a world where every country thinks every other country is full of terrorists and bad people. What do you think would happen? How would the world look like then?

Segregation and lack of trust would probably rise. Not to mention wars and other worse consequences.

However, isn’t exactly there where we are currently headed? The fall of globalization sounds just what would happen because of these phenomenon…

So please do your part, next time you read the news don’t take it at face value. Take your time to think about what it says and whether or not it’s logical. Also think about the size of the population it is describing. And never forget that the only news that sells is bad news,

 

 

Author: Andres Paez

Tech’er, writer, programmer, life enthusiast.

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