106. The impossible battle against misinformation in social media

I think it was Mark Twain who said something like: ‘Never argue with an idiot, they will drag you to their level and beat you with experience’. I can imagine this quote was coined at a moment of exasperation after one such argument. We could adapt it, today, to something like: ‘Never challenge misinformation in social media. It will fight you with continuous, mindless repetition and beat you using your good intentions to help its spread’. This is a tough problem. Social media, particularly short form one such as Twitter, is not designed as a forum for reasoned thoughts and exhaustive information, which should be the weapons deployed in this particular battle. This is a problem, because social media provides a more suitable voice for agitation and deceit than it does for reason. We must find other media, but it is true today that the length of content is inversely proportional to the numbers that consume it, and only if we can buck that trend the truth will out, as the old adage says

Length: 998 characters 

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