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The 2020 presidential campaigns aren’t ready to fight disinformation. It might be up to us.

In today’s New York Times, there’s a frightening article titled 2020 Campaigns Throw Their Hands Up on Disinformation, which Techmeme succinctly summarizes like so: Campaign staff and researchers say almost no political campaigns, including presidential ones, have teams for spotting and pushing back on disinformation.

Welcome to the downside of the old internet promise that anyone can be a publisher or a journalist: It’s that everyone also has to be an editor, a fact-checker, a media critic, and yes, an investor too.

Start with these basics:

Also worth reading: The Internet Broke the News Industry—and Can Fix It, Too, by Jimmy Wales and Orit Kopel:

The people-powered solution

In the end, what may end up making a big difference is the rise of contributors who care enough to give up some of their time to act as independent fact-checkers and watchdogs. That’s how the Urban Legends Reference Pages got its start, and it eventually became Snopes. Just as social media accounts can be used to spread disinformation, they can also be used to spread the truth. Algorithms have been weaponized against people, but they can also be harnessed to protect them.

Someone’s going to have to take on the challenges that the campaigns and social media networks can’t or won’t do, and as the drivers of the information age, that responsibility will fall to us. Are we up to it?

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