Homeland Security: Key Ways to Combat Misinformation
Govciooutlook

Homeland Security: Key Ways to Combat Misinformation

Catalina Joseph, Gov CIO Outlook | Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Organizations can shift public discourse by allowing the public to 'change the channel' and look at other sources of information, including those that do not support views or assumptions that one instinctively shares.

FREMONT, CA: The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to be the most critical threat to global stability and prosperity. Despite promoting advances in vaccine production with surprising initial effectiveness results, the universal dissemination and application of the vaccine to the American population should be a top priority. Under the delivery and administration of the vaccine(s), a reliable and full set of data relating to the use of the vaccine and empiric measures of the effectiveness of the vaccine(s) are necessary.

This will raise specific problems to policymakers when they resolve long-standing concerns such as identity and privacy in the light of the vast processing of sensitive data collection as part of public health initiatives. Disinformation remains a significant threat and is expected to escalate in severity and effect in 2021. Disinformation is often designed around the nuggets of truth to attract the target audience. Misinformation is the unwitting spreading of misinformation, usually by social media users who post disinformation without verifying the origins of disinformation or the reports' veracity.

At all levels, policymakers and leaders must take steps to fight misinformation and launch a counter-offensive to misinformation. The counter-offensive campaign can involve elements such as:

1) Warn the Public They are Under Threat: Policymakers should combine in a bipartisan way to inform the public that they are under attack by disinformation programs targeting the people and social institutions.

2) Give the Public the Means to Defeat the Threat: Sadly, websites actively track users' surfing history and serve up material that they think would be of interest to them. As a result, many viewers are trapped in the information echo chamber, where what they see is information selected and personalized to fit the reader's preconceived preferred opinions. Malicious players understand this and feed these engines to direct emotions and thoughts to achieve their strategic objectives. Organizations can shift public discourse by allowing the public to 'change the channel' and look at other sources of information, including those that do not support views or assumptions that one instinctively shares. From a political point of view, policymakers should collaborate with internet outlets and social media providers to eliminate algorithms that filter competing viewpoints from users and create an echo chamber to restore a more open and civil discourse of ideas.

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