Ecosystem of Fake Bots, Information, and Distorted Realities

“We do not really understand how to live in cyberspace yet. The way we live in cyberspace is a funhouse mirror of the way we live in the real world. We take both advantages and our troubles with us.

Bruce Sterling”
The Hacker Crackdown, 1992



When Tim Berners-Lee hoped for an internet to collaborate and share information, he probably didn’t have fake news or the weaponization of information in mind.

We might talk about today’s information as something more than a “Russian thing” one day. The events we are witnessing appear to be akin to Martin Luther’s ushering in a dramatic new way of thinking about the world. But the revelations and online chicanery spilling out of the 2016 US Election alone could prove to be the 95 theses wake up call for the titans of technology.

While the term fake news makes for catching headlines and even chosen as the Collins Dictionary word of the year for 2017, we’re disregarding it. We echo the same concerns recently put forward by Claire Wardle and Hossein Derakhshan that the term is being “appropriated by politicians around the world to describe news organizations whose coverage they find disagreeable. In this way, it’s becoming a mechanism by which the powerful can clamp down upon, restrict, undermine, and circumvent the free press”

Ecosystem of Fake
Bots, Information, and Distorted Realities
John F. Gray and Rebecca Visser