The world is rushing to vaccinate itself against COVID-19. But what about the other virus? The one that attacks a society’s ability to function. Where’s the vaccine for that?
“If there’s ever been a 12-month period where the connection between online behaviour, online disinformation, and real-world harm, this is it.”
– Craig Silverman
You see it every day: the memes, the shitposting, the outrage, the outrageous lies. And their spread. Everywhere. Amplified and weaponized.
Today, we talk with Craig Silverman, Media Editor at Buzzfeed, who covers social platforms, misinformation, and fake news.
We had Craig on the BetaKit podcast in 2018 to discuss how bad actors can use tech and social media to “game the system” for their benefit.
Well, that hasn’t changed. In fact, it has only accelerated. Dramatically.
The acceleration of social media disinformation is also impacting the fight against COVID-19, and frankly, consensus that the pandemic is something to be fought against.
Craig told us before recording that, like COVID itself, COVID misinformation is a global phenomenon. It’s morphed over time from conspiracies about the virus’ origin, to fake cures and stuff about masks. And now, Craig is also seeing a ton of anti-vaccine misinformation.
We talk about all of that on this episode, but also the current status of the fight against disinformation on social media, how vulnerable Canada is, the desire from social media platforms to be regulated (in a way that still allows them to make money), and what it’s like to be a part of the fight for truth when a lot of people now see you as the enemy.
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Black Swan is a BetaKit podcast. Hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Produced with support from TWG.
Feature image courtesy Communitech.