Advancements in technology have made a lifetime of information accessible to all.  The tech world has done amazing things in areas of productivity and has empowered workers and regular folks with organized information that is usable, searchable, and timely.  Some may argue about the reliability of a news source, but who doesn’t like having an answer at the ready from a smartphone?

While nothing travels faster than the speed of light, the reality of never-ending headlines leads some to believe that Information travels faster, even if it is fake news.  A problem occurs when non-stop headlines and ‘news’ with no reliable, consistent method of fact-checking, spreads through social media networks.

The flow and control of information are dominated by a handful of mega-tech companies- Meta (Facebook & Instagram), Alphabet (Google & YouTube), Twitter (rebranded as X), Apple, Microsoft, and TikTok (owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, and a reputed avenue of surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party).  Anything can be created and sent as a social media post or video, often without context and in some cases completely fabricated, and then consumed as ‘news’.

Percentage of U.S. adults who get news from social media

At least half of U.S. adults get news at least sometimes from social media, with a higher percentage of younger users getting social media-based news.  Fake news is seventy percent more likely to be spread than the truth.

What to believe?  If it is illegal offline, then it should also be seen and dealt with online.

To give consumers control of their data, combat the spread of misinformation and illegal content, and control the market power of big tech, European regulators have passed a series of laws that require online platforms to comply or face steep fines, up to 6% of global annual revenue.  The passage of the General Data Protection Regulation (control of personal data) and the Digital Services Act package, encompassing the Digital Market Act (curbing market power and controlling toxic content) and the Digital Service Act (regulating toxic content and disinformation) requires big tech firms to comply with a new set of ground rules.

Should the U.S. government follow suit?

Below is a recent Pew Research Center study on restricting false information.  The study measures support for restricting false information online, even if it limits freedom of information or protecting freedom of information, even if it means false information can be published.  Perhaps there is a way to restrict publishing false information while also protecting freedom of information.  Targeted regulations that place responsibility on the tech companies may be the answer.  What do you think?  Reach out here to let me know!

~ Brian Kasal- The Leadership Matrix

Click Here- Pew Research Center study- Most Americans favor restrictions on false information, violent content online

P.S.- Did you see my last Leadership Matrix post?  Another mania May be Developing… Is A.I. All the Rage?

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