Tech didn’t cause misinformation, and it won’t solve it (by itself)

Christopher Guess

Playlists: 'MCH2022' videos starting here / audio

There’s no quick fix for the misinformation, disinformation, and lies were seeing in the world these days, and its natural for hackers want to work on the problems with the skills at hand. I’m going to talk about why, for hackers, that’s not necessarily a good move to do solo. I’ll go over mistakes I’ve seen way too many technologists and academics make when approaching the subject, where misinformation *really* comes from, and where the audience can harness what they’re good at.

It is deceptively easy to see misinformation as a data problem, as a societal issue of algorithms run amok on soulless social media platforms. However, just because the delivery of misinformation is purely technical, it doesn’t mean that the cause, or solution, is also technical. In the more than half a decade I have been working on factchecking misinformation and disinformation I have see this point lost over and over to technologist, hackers, hobbyists and academics.

This is a huge waste of talented resources, and in this talk I will go over why this is the case and explain the most serious problems that journalists, fact-checkers and politicians are facing. Hackers have been addressing large-scale issues for decades, and my talk will lay a framework down for how the MCH community and beyond can work on the lies that are propagated across the internet and the world.

There’s never been more of a need for help, and I will explain how to get the most bang for your buck.