An timely, important and relevant piece of work by colleagues over at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at NTU.
Summary of paper
Fake news is not a new issue but it poses a greater challenge now. The velocity of information has increased drastically with messages now spreading internationally within seconds online. Readers are overwhelmed by the flood of information, but older markers of veracity have not kept up, nor has there been a commensurate growth in the ability to counter false or fake news. These developments have given an opportunity to those seeking to destabilize a state or to push their perspectives to the fore.
This report discusses fake news with regard to the ways that it may manifest, how its dissemination is enabled through social media and search engines, how people are cognitively predisposed to imbibing it, and what are the various responses internationally that have been implemented or are being considered to counter it.
This report finds that efforts to counter fake news must comprise both legislative and non-legislative approaches as each has its own challenges. First, the approaches must factor in an understanding of how technology enables fake news to spread and how people are predisposed to believing it. Second, it would be helpful to make a distinction between the different categories of falsehoods that are being propagated using fake news as the medium. Third, efforts should go hand in hand with ongoing programmes at shoring up social resilience and national consensus. Fourth, efforts need to move beyond bland rebuttal and statements, as these may be counter-productive. Fifth, counter-narratives that challenge fake news must be released expeditiously as fake news is able to spread en masse at great speed due to technology. In sum, collaboration across the whole of society, including good public-private partnership, is necessary in order to unravel fake news and ensure better synergy of efforts in countering it.
Read the full report here.