To Sebastian DiGus, Neuroscientist at the University of Freiburg (Switzerland), co-author of the book Plot (Ed. Margada) told AFP, “This epidemic has shown us that misinformation is a matter in its own right.”
What do you conclude from these two years of massive misinformation?
For the first time, we are really facing a lack of a rigorous information model. This is something we already know about climate: providing facts or contacting science is not enough to generate support or understand what is going on. By Gov., it has become clear. Initially, no one knew anything, so science evolved gradually and quickly with uncertainty and hesitation.
At the same time, people create their own knowledge register, sometimes around misinformation in networks or word of mouth, sometimes pure inventions, programs that people have in their head about what it is. What this epidemic is showing us is that misinformation is an object in its own right: it is not a barrier, it is a somewhat painful thing to oppose. Misinformation is produced day by day, it is quick and opportunistic, it is ideology rather than credibility.
It’s a dynamic, dynamic thing, in which people get involved. We already knew more or less, but we never got it in the face, live. The most important thing that should guide the actions of scientists, researchers, officials, and journalists is this: take this no longer as simple nonsense, but as real political projects.
Correction of misinformation is certainly necessary, but it is important to understand that there is a margin for consumers to adhere to misinformation, not just because they are misleading, but precisely because they are misleading, denied, rejected, and tarnished by the authorities. It will attract them. So it is not the people we are going to rescue by spreading the right information. They expect to be called naive or conspirators. Another lesson from the epidemic: they are not completely isolated or small group of strange individuals.
Exactly, what is the impact on the community?
Activists make an impact in the real world. They can affect the outcome: Fear of reactions, demonstrations, etc. The authorities will try not to offend. This will frighten political decision makers, especially during election time. Misinformation can have many consequences: it can lead to misunderstandings, but it can also make a lot of noise, changing the general intellectual environment and causing pressure from many minorities.
The fight against the virus has been adapted to suit the vulnerability of some, for example vaccine campaigns, which we have the idea that has irritated many researchers – even if it is difficult to prove. This is also true in everyday conversations: people no longer want to talk about the virus because there is no such and such agreement and we know we will “argue”.
People are forced to select pages. The notion of misinformation and conspiracy has crept into families, tearing apart friendships and social groups. There is a polarization, an intensification. “How can I persuade my cousin to stop watching these videos?” “Or” my mother has completely lost touch with the truth “: this is also the concern of the people. They are more afraid of the virus than what happened to their social environment. The destruction of misinformation needs to be remedied.
Are we ready to fight it today?
Unfortunately not. But perhaps we have a first lesson: if we want to spread the science, we must not forget the human sciences (like social psychology). You need to know how people behave, how this misinformation works and how it is spread. Do this hand in hand with epidemiologists and climate experts who cannot get their message across.
Utilizes all new means of miscommunication, internet, social networking, etc. … but these are things we can pick up again for information. There is “truth verification” and the press in general, but there is also a law that needs to be changed: are we censoring or not (misinformation circulating on social networks)? Do not be satisfied with commissions or statements here and there.