The Internet: Arguments, Not Facts

The internet isn’t full of facts. It’s full of arguments. As demonstrated by this article on the New York Times’ site:

which quotes Mark Bowden in The Atlantic, who says that “work formerly done by reporters and producers is now routinely performed by political operatives and amateur ideologues of one stripe or another, whose goal is not to educate the public but to win.”

Bad news.

But it makes sense when you think about it. All that content on the web: think about who’s providing this stuff. Every single entry posted by an amateur on the web is probably going to be from an interest group. Someone with an agenda.

And it’s compounded by another problem: people look for things that confirm their own beliefs.

I’m not a creationist. But if I were, I could find ample evidence on the first page of google for my beliefs.

The idealised neutrality of the internet actually entrenches beliefs, rather than expanding horizons.

And this is where people get their facts from. Wikipedia, and Google (which could be replacing general knowledge…)


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