Gong Handbook on Disinformation: How Do They Track us so Successfully?

The flood of disinformation that accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic globally stimulated a discussion about the social role of journalism in crisis situations, as well as about the structural problems and challenges that journalism faces. Although the current infodemic has made them more prominent, the problems facing journalism are far older than it, and stem from several sources: the lack of resistance of the media to political pressures, funding that depends on the favor of advertisers - especially large ones - and finally, from the very logic of online distribution of content, which strongly favors virality, clicks and other indicators of content popularity over its relevance.

We tried to describe some of these dynamics in the handbook "Disinformation: Why it works and what can we do about it?", not as a lesson in journalism, but as a reminder to those who work in the media industry that the transmission of key, verified information does not proceed without the interference of factors that are essential make it difficult to fulfill the role of the media. Some are political, some socio-economic, and a special place is occupied by psychological phenomena: cognitive biases and receptiveness to conspiracy theories. The manual is intended for journalists, that is, students of journalism, as a kind of reminder of the obstacles on the way to realizing the ideal of journalism as timely, complete, objective reporting in the public interest.

The authors of the chapters of this manual are experts in the fields of psychology, social psychology, political science, media sociology and journalism, and each of them gave their perspective on why disinformation has become our constant companion in the hyper-accelerated world of information. At the end of the handbook, we offer a small toolbox for journalists, in order to make it at least a little easier to introduce the practice of checking the accuracy of information into everyday work.

The real changes that will save journalism from everything that oppresses it do not fit into one handbook - it is about media policy, civic upbringing and education, and the responsibility of political decision makers. Along the way, arm yourself with the insights of the Pro-fact manual!

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