Skip to main content

How social media is hurting our knowledge and how Wikipedia is keeping information fair.

Many people have heard of the term “Fake News”, and many people feel that the existence of fake articles using their headlines for click revenue or manipulation of opinions are an incredible problem facing web users today. The problem is more then that though. The problem is not that information is outright fake; The true problem is that people are only experiencing information based on their own views. In class we learned how the most informative news and ideas come from people considered acquiescence rather then friends. This is because you spend time with the people who are most similar to you and therefor your life experiences are quite similar. This same thing is happening with social media on an even greater scale. Due to technology and algorithms, the information that pops up in your news feed on Facebook, or even your actual news section on google news are catered toward you, your experiences, and your views of the world. This is clearly a problem if we want to have an informed population. According to Hossien Derakhshan this has been happening throughout the history of technology, and one of the last remaining pillars of the decentralized open web, Wikipedia, is in a crisis to keep itself from having the same fate as websites like Facebook and google when it comes to fair content.

In class we learned that the only possible balanced node relationships on a large scale are when their are two separate sections where everyone on one section agrees with one another and disagrees with everyone in the other section. Most websites that want to increase profits take advantage of this property of balanced structures so people are more satisfied with the website and spend more time on it. This has led to a even more divided country. Wikipedia is an outlier in all of this, at least for now. Wikipedia is a non-profit so it doesn’t have to try and keep you on the site for a longer period of time in order to boost stock prices. The goal of Wikipedia seems to be to record information for all people in a fair and organized way. This idea of true information is exemplified by the use of many references and hyperlinks that give you typically way more information then you actually need. However, the issue seems to be that people don’t gravitate toward information on Wikipedia like they do for Facebook or google. Most searches on Wikipedia are for celebrities or non-controversial topics. However, Wikipedia is a forum for constant corrections, so most of the information, at least on most topics, are generally pretty accurate and give a fair representation. Wikipedia is like an acquiescence. It has valuable information because it doesn’t follow you and track you everywhere. It can give you new insights that more personalized sites don’t give you anymore.





Leave a Reply

Blogging Calendar

October 2017