Now Promoting Untrustworthy Content From Opportunistic Sources If You Have The Money

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Now Promoting Untrustworthy Content From Opportunistic Sources If You Have The Money

Post by circuitbored »

The ones of us that interact ritually with the Internet know the term "Repost" all too well. We see reposts regularly now (content that repeatedly gets displayed despite having eclipsed public awareness multiple times) because of many reasons. Sometimes it's from a person trying to generate followers on social media... Sometimes it's from someone who simply had not seen it before... And very creatively and maliciously sometimes, it's an "edited, renovated, or even untouched" repost rebranded as new/current events from a lobbying group trying to influence or bolster specifically engineered points in modern or historical politics, no matter how much truth or relevance matters.

With a world-wide Internet, and Billions of people making posts every second, somehow the Internet feels like it's shrinking for all of us when we visit our normal "go-to" Internet spots like social media, blogs, and even when we search Google or Bing.

These days, more often than not, we frequently see these repetitive content posts (videos, articles, topics, and other content), we also see celebrity names trending at strategic and unfortunate times linked to the promotion of things like films and events, and the timing is subtly strategic, often rewarding publicly negative actions or incidents to gain even more public awareness. We also see regular cases and stories of stolen intellectual property (The ideas of people and companies) on social media as a more and more "incorrectly rewarding" crime path towards achieving money and fame.

Many of us are beginning to really question how safe our individual ideas and expressions are when we share them online (Even privately in messaging apps and forums, when speaking openly around our devices like phones, and in email). More importantly, many of us are questioning the credibility of everything and everyone we observe online, and many are manipulated into harmful and anti-social actions and behavior as a result of the new profit model the Internet has imposed upon society. I'm not going to go as far as to say that online manipulation and deception can coerce someone to commit a crime or harm against others, but I would venture to say that probably most of the very public incidents of personal harm that make the news today involve evidence based on Internet search history and the use of social media news and opinion sources. That alone is an important statement that should not be underestimated in considering the influential nature and impacts of online news in and upon our society today.

I personally have found certain highly-read articles and topics from this site (CircuitBored.Com) "paraphrased" elsewhere, even on some sources that people consider credible, while each post here is totally written organically by human beings (not based on popular news or trends) - only when we encounter a specific problem worth addressing... That is often illustrated by mis-spellings and run on sentences at times, but we try to come back and fix those errors quickly after publication.

As I've also worked as a web developer and observed search engine optimization for web sites over my years in the industry, I've also observed a worrisome trend in search engines online being biased towards artificially engineered and somewhat "manipulated" results that increasingly aren't exactly related to my original search terms. Regularly, and less recognizably over time, strategic (paid) advertisements are also being placed into my search query results, video recommendations, and post views instead of accurate results based on accuracy, and to me this presents a MAJOR problem in terms of their effectiveness and trustworthiness.

I am sure frustration is real for published writers, independent writers and other content creators these days, as technology, social media, and automation have taken over our Internet. Misinformation is a huge problem in our world right now. It can lead people to do terrible things based on inaccurate data, opinions, and based on speculation and opinion that may be inaccurately be credited as authoritative.

It's becoming harder and harder to find meaningful health advice online, but it's also becoming dangerous for your own doctor to find meaningful advice about your health online.

In the past, we had (physical) libraries, which also potentially contained many books with inaccurate information within them, but the books considered as "accurate and credible" usually outranked the inaccurate ones overall. This was because back then (and still to this day) we had a method for rating the credibility of books, because they were printed, and fixed in terms of their content, whereas the Internet is far more dynamic. The most credible books were retained in State and Federal libraries (regulated by laws) as well, which reduced the potential of the promotion of profit-biased publications.

The tools for searching the Internet we're all presented with now create a unique new challenge in determining the quality and accuracy of important things we read online, and we often rely on the source that presents that information to determine the quality of the content we're presented with. This is why the experience of finding information in a government-administered library is a lot different than finding information at a Barnes & Noble (or any other private bookstore)... Corporate owned bookstores often place the most profitable books in the most prominent places of their store, it's a great practice for entertainment content, but popularity is often not a good factor of consideration for content that people depend on, like health care advice.

A big problem I've been finding with searching content lately is the (new trend of) elimination of post creation, update, and/or modified dates... I have been observing certain video posts on YouTube (for example) that do not display their original post dates, while most other videos there do display dates... In my understanding, this feature is not configurable by users, but the platform does enable different classes of control and features for users based on their level of popularity/following, so even that practice creates a situation where "credibility bias" can exist on the platform. Many also raised alarms when YouTube disabled it's "thumbs down" button, which was a vital factor in determining the balance of credibility of videos observed on the platform.

Because text and images can be edited in real time on the Internet, and because of the potential for insertion of code into that equation on the Internet, assessing the quality of content must also be performed in real time. A bad actor can publish a credible statement that passes a quality check initially, but then they can potentially go back and change the credible post into something else potentially, or they can also introduce code into their post that covertly changes the purpose of their post to suit monetary gains... Humans often cannot keep up with the techniques of multiple individuals, foreign governments, and even corporations that organize to manipulate information online to suit their needs... We have seen this occur in many prominent sites online lately, as news of manipulation grows and grows each year.

Keep social communities smaller. Tight knit communities are better at policing themselves, and in being policed. A big problem these days is that huge communities also create technical support nightmares, where issues are never properly addressed, due to the shear volume of users within them. Technical support issues, feedback, and moderation are cornerstones in maintaining any community that endures past a short-term basis.

Hire and promote experienced, properly vetted, credentialed, accountable, and knowledgeable experts as content moderators, contributors, and administrators, and listen to them.

Stop relying on one individual to control decision-making for platforms with massive user bases... Only diverse groups in democratically (socially and economic-ly) equal management settings can effectively and productively manage platforms with large-scale user bases, otherwise, you're likely dealing with bias on a regular basis (and too much assertive authority) that can prove to be very destructive over time, and long before it is realized.

Make sure a user community does not plagiarize, steal, hijack, and/or brigade-vote content or manipulate their role into serving unethically biased personal and/or company profit.

Hold search and IT service providers (platforms) accountable for permitting and enabling disinformation and hold them responsible for promoting stolen, manipulative, and triggering news and/or content from discredited, plagiaristic, untrustworthy, and opportunistic sources.

Hold search and IT service providers (platforms) accountable for their meta data and statistics, post results and search results should always track creation, update, and modification dates and authoring sources clearly displayed, and they should properly and reliably display content in fair comparison if they present their platform as a credible source for information in any capacity.

Reduce the breadth of your content, segment it better into categories, where manipulative information will become more evident to users.

Identify and demote users that promote inaccurate and triggering information, or create separate space and clearly designate it as such, perhaps a title of "Wild West" may be appropriate for information solely based on opinion from uncredentialled or unverifiable sources (Television news should also take note of this idea).

Do not allow and foster nefarious profiteering and promotion on content that can be damaging if it is inaccurate, also create and maintain proper "fences" around credible and authoritative information resources, and continually manage that gate to verify authority of all content and contributors.

The mix of politics and profit should never be considered as credible, the same goes for public safety and health (and pretty much everything else that is regulated and addressed by state and federal government). If profit or corporate-sponsored news and opinion on serious matters is a focus, it should only be provided (if necessary) with a disclaimer that it is not inherently credible, official, nor "officially sanctioned" news and/or content.

As a user, always vet what you read, and the sources providing it to you. Always check the credibility of the sources you trust. Make sure you're not contributing to the harmful process of corrupting important and critical information and content online, because it undermines and divides all of us more and more horribly and harmfully each year we allow it to persist.
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