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Disinformation and Democracy: age of “alt-truth”?
International Conference on Current Trends in Higher Education in India (2019)
  • Subhajit Basu
We are surrounded by information that has been manipulated to attract attention and then, through publicity, generates and communicates a message designed to subvert a person’s autonomous decision-making and pervert their choices. ‘Cambridge Analytica’ used data harvested from millions of Facebook profiles to influence voter behaviour. The relentless targeting of hyper-partisan views, play to the fears and prejudices of people, in order to influence their voting plans and their behaviour pose a greater threat to democracy (sharing of news without verification ). If there is anything we have learned in the last year, it is that our regulatory framework is completely inadequate to cope with a ‘disinformation’ campaign. Our policies have been focused on protecting computer systems and their data, not on protecting people's minds from the rampant misinformation planted on the networks relied upon by countless users. Hence, the question is whether ‘disinformation’ a threat to our liberal thinking? How can we maintain core values of freedom of speech and the free flow of information while protecting ourselves from malicious geopolitical actors? As nation states begin to recognise the nature of the threat, human individuality is exposed to enormous pressures of information engineering for which there is, yet, no bulwark. One thing is certain; this world of data analytics presents a multifaceted problem which, having no single cause, has no single solution. However, there is an obligation on the government to protect our rights, and the lack of regulation in this area demonstrates a failure to do so.
  • Alt-right,
  • fake news,
  • disinformation,
  • india,
  • facebook
Publication Date
Winter January 22, 2019
Kolkata, India
Citation Information
Subhajit Basu. "Disinformation and Democracy: age of “alt-truth”?" International Conference on Current Trends in Higher Education in India (2019)
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