The Internet is still relatively new. Consider that it took decades, even centuries, for the effects of print to evolve. I tend to think that we’re in a phase of the Internet’s evolution – a point where bad actors have learned to make malicious use of the technology, and before we’ve learned to deal effectively with the downsides.
But stuff his happening. We see more fact-checking and verification. E.g. automated tools like Google Fact Check Explorer and Lead Stories sift through info, flag potential misinformation and provide verified sources. Platforms like X and Facebook have tested algorithms that highlight the provenance of information, exposing bias and hidden agendas. (I’m not sure that Elon’s X is still on board, though.) AI-powered technologies can be used to create deepfakes, but can also be used to spot manipulated images and videos.
There’s media literacy education, initiatives like NewsGuard and The Factual that help with critical thinking skills needed to evaluate information sources and identify disinformation tactics. Investigative journalism and fact-checking organizations like ProPublica and Bellingcat are holding bad actors accountable and digging stuff up that might otherwise be buried.
Some platforms are tightening content moderation policies to take down bad info, and governments are considering how to hold platforms accountable for the spread of harmful content, e.g. the EU’s Digital Services Act. There are organizations like the Global Disinformation Index and the Paris Call for trust and security in cyberspace fostering collaboration among governments, tech companies, and NGOs to combat disinformation on a global scale.