Why individuals won’t fix online misinformation — but they’re the best option we’ve got

A shot of Hurricane Florence’s eye from the International Space Station on September 12th, 2018.

Photo by Alexander Gerst / ESA / NASA

Earlier this month, we published a guide to figuring out what’s real on the internet — whether that means spotting a malicious “fake news” site or an innocent post with bad information. We also explained that individuals can only do so much. Schools, governments, web platform owners, and other institutions need to tackle bigger issues at a structural level. But that’s a much tougher task, and it might require a new way of thinking about the internet.

Whitney Phillips is an expert on the dark side of internet culture. She’s the author of trolling ethnography This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things as well as the Data & Society report The Oxygen of Amplification, which laid out a toxic feedback loop between well-meaning journalism and…

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