Study on fake news in Estonian (published as a brochure)

In May 2019 I have published a brochure in Estonian on fake news. Partners have been the Estonian Pro Patria Institute and the Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung. 

Fake news can be created by anybody. You just have to create “news” and need the money to spread it via social media channels. This new method of social interaction seemed to be a tool for participation but turned out to be manipulative and unfiltered. How easy it has become to share information – both true and false – on a massive scale. The Cambridge Dictionary defines fake news as “fake stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.” But referring to the latest developments, it is serious. We are confronted with US-President Donald Trump, the consequences of the Brexit referendum and the rise of right-wing and left-wing populism in many European countries.

The term “fake news” was used by only a few people years ago but it is now seen as a huge threat to liberal democracies. Without getting hysterical or panicky we need to tackle this challenge of orchestrated campaigns which are spreading untruth and disinformation. The so called “digital revolution“ has reached a critical point: it is clear that digital issues are profoundly changing our societies. The unsolved challenge is deeply linked to the rise of social media and a disruptive process for political communication in general. The German chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out in a parliamentary speech: “Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls – things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms, and we have to learn to deal with them.”

Praegu ei ole vist enam ühtki poliitilist, ühiskondlikku või valimisüritust, kus ei räägitaks valeuudistest. Mõnes riigis on arutatud nende võimalikku mõju valimistele, demo- kraatiale ja postmodernistlikule kodanikkonnale. Aega tagasi pöörata ei saa. Me peame ausalt vastu vaatama uuele tegelikkusele, kus enamik inimesi saab oma teabe kätte kõigest mõne sotsiaalmeedia saidi ja otsingumootori kaudu. Faktide kommunikatsioon ei saa toimuda ratsionaalselt. Vaja on emotsionaalset imperatiivi. Tõe rääkimisest peab saama uus, moodsa etiketiga narratiiv.

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