"But in the latest week of almost surreal declarations from the United Sates, such as the “alternative facts” comment, the dangers of the “post-truth” era from manipulation of information may be a lot closer than we think.
If we rely on social media uncritically as a key source of information then the threat becomes even more acute.
Moreover, the source of misinformation may not be as exotic or malign as a foreign hegemony and could be as simple as local political ambition, blustering keyboard prejudice or just contagious, unsubstantiated gossip. The result is the same; without critical distinction of source the truth is lost.
The outcome of filter bubbles is well documented. The manipulation of Twitter with robot-created tweets is already an old device to hijack public conversation and has plagued events from Brexit to the Arab spring.
Professor Katina Michael from the University of Wollongong argues the now rife disinformation undermines our individual position in a democratic society;
“The deliberate act of spreading falsehoods by using the internet, and more specifically social media, to make people believe something that is not true is certainly a form of propaganda. It preys on the premise that most citizens in society are like sheep, a game of ‘follow the leader’ ensues, making a mockery of the ‘right to know’. We are using faulty data to come to phoney conclusions, to cast our votes and decide our futures.”
We owe it to ourselves to ask a lot more questions."