How can we sort good information from bad? The last several years have seen an “implosion of trust” around the world in traditional institutions such as government and the media. Online news hasn’t been spared, especially in the wake of various “fake news” scandals, and people are particularly wary about social media.
The internet offers us all access to vast amounts of data. Potentially, we have all the world’s libraries at our fingertips. There were over a billion websites in the world and over three billion internet users in 2017. Yet what good is all the information if it can’t be trusted?
Debating Europe recently attended an event in Brussels about information in the digital age. The event, hosted by Google, focused on trust, diversity, and the future of internet search. We interviewed some of the participants on the topic of trust online. What would they say?
What do our readers think? We had a comment from Wendy, who paints a pretty stark picture of democracy in the digital age. She believes everything online is “rigged”, and that “disinformation, shills and sockpuppets [are] everywhere”. Is she right? Has the internet broken democracy?
To get a reaction, we put Wendy’s comment to Nic Newman, Research Associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. What would he say?
To get another perspective, we put the same comment to Sophie Nicholson, Social Media Editor at Agence France-Press (AFP). How would she respond to Wendy’s comment?
We also had a comment from Tom, who says the most important thing is that we all keep talking to one another and don’t get trapped in “echo chambers”. Is there anything search engines can do to help push people with different opinions out of their “filter bubbles” and get them talking to one another?
Finally, we put the same question to Ben Gomes, Vice President for Search Engineering at Google. What would he say?
How do you decide what you trust online? Has the internet broken democracy? And should search engines try to push people out of their “filter bubbles”? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!
IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Fancycrave
Editorially independent content supported by: Google. See our FAQ for more details.