with any modern controversy you get loads of contrarian people going “well if it’s so bad why did nobody complain until now?” and the answer is… people *always did,* but few people ever heard

with the internet we now have these engines of viral amplification which we simply did not have before - for something to become big enough to be known to a decent number of people, it had to hit the news *first*, now it just hits the news *after* going viral

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and, of course, this mechanism is a double-edged sword, the amplifiers are simultaneously useful detectors of interesting things, and… well and truly ripe for abuse

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so on the one hand this content in general doesn’t have to be considered “newsworthy” by your local TV or newspaper editor… but also it doesn’t have to be checked for trustworthiness *by any living being*

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I think about this kind of a lot and I think it’s probably neither entirely a good or bad thing, but something we need to understand about how we’re consuming news and content in 2018, but we seem unprepared

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we’re overwhelmingly unprepared for the idea that the top result on Google might be a paid ad which is actually a scam, unprepared for the idea that that 13k retweet screenshot showing something might actually be (poorly) edited

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I think we need to be teaching some scepticism, and that everyone should verify before they willingly trust random posts on the internet, as basic technological survival skills

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and a lot of internet infrastructure conflates trustworthiness and security of communication, despite them being two different concepts

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a scam website *can* have a green-company-name type SSL certificate; that and the lock in your browser don’t mean “you should trust this website,” it really *only* means your communications with it are private

and this feels like a microcosm of the broader issues

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sorry, this got kind of rambly, but my vague point is the internet is as powerful as it is dangerous and I don’t think people quite understand that

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and while the internet has turned some former background whisper networks into broadcasts, the conversations you hadn’t heard before were probably always there

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