Misinformation is a massive threat to our democracy. The only real way to stop it is to force social media companies to make aggressive changes in how they do business. Look alive, Zuckerberg! Congress is now looking at regulating these platforms — and the recent testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen seems to have united both parties toward actually doing something. The question is what exactly we should do to stop it, and how long it might take. (Hint: years and years.)
Attacking the press is a classic move from the Dictator Manual, right up there with aggressive facial hair choices and wearing earth tones. Though the U.S. hasn’t yet reached the level where the government is jailing reporters for critical coverage or murdering them, in 2020, reporters in the U.S. faced a record number of attacks. A less robust media makes it harder to fight creeping authoritarianism and paves the way for fake news to run rampant. This is all very bad news for freedom!