In a new report from Pew Research Center, Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson share findings from over 1,000 expert respondents on issues of truth and misinformation online. For the report, The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online, Rainie and Anderson used the following framing to tee up survey responses:
“The rise of ‘fake news’ and the proliferation of doctored narratives that are spread by humans and bots online are challenging publishers and platforms. Those trying to stop the spread of false information are working to design technical and human systems that can weed it out and minimize the ways in which bots and other schemes spread lies and misinformation.”
With a focus on the next ten years of the online information environment, responses fell into five key themes, organized into three categories.
Things will not improve:
- The information environment will not improve. The problem is human nature.
- The information environment will not improve because technology will create new challenges that can’t or won’t be countered effectively and at scale.
Things will improve:
- The information environment will improve because technology will help label, filter or ban misinformation and thus upgrade the public’s ability to judge the quality and veracity of content.
- The information environment will improve, because people will adjust and make things better.
Major programs are necessary:
- Tech can’t win the battle. The public must fund and support the production of objective, accurate information. It must also elevate information literacy to be a primary goal of education.