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UK University Pushes for More “Friction” in Private Messages To Reduce “Misinformation”

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Now’s the time to put even more pressure on Big Tech to make their platforms and apps “behave” according to various government standards – and those governments have no shortage of “research fellows” to seemingly independently back that kind of a push.

This may or may not be true in (yet another) case in the UK, but it’s worth considering. There is a school there called Loughborough University – that promotes itself on its site as “somewhere anyone can realize their full potential.”

Maybe the UK government could, too. If the “full potential” happens to be fully curtailing lawful speech even on encrypted message apps – job done!

All joking aside, though, this is what the university’s researchers have been busy doing: WhatsApp, and how to implement “misinformation warnings” on there, in certain scenarios.

The “research” here goes specifically into how “forwarded (post) tags” work on personal messengers like those owned and policed for “misinformation” by Meta.

The overall sentiment is – not well, according to the report. That’s because there’s allegedly lots of room for “the potential spread of misinformation.”

And here we go again – The Year of Elections. One result of the “study,” according to Professor Andrew Chadwick, is “a major concern for policymakers, news organizations and citizen (…) particularly as we head into this year of multiple major elections around the world.”

We keep hearing about so many elections as a “do-or-die” treasure to defend from never clearly specified dangers. But we are still waiting for “investigative reporters” to tell us if many elections taking place around the world in one of 190+ UN member-states, in one year, is, in fact, a noteworthy event.

Yet, merely by the number of times this point has been repeated about 2024 in a myriad of legacy media reports and various research papers – we know, it’s actually all eyes on the US presidential ballot in November. And so, justifying all sorts of speech-restrictive policies ahead of time to create an advantage for the already chosen ones in those quarters, prevails.

As for Loughborough University’s beef with WhatsApp, it says that “a national survey of 2,000 people show that very few people – 10% of messaging users – understood the (“untrustworthy”) tags as intended.”

So then, what to do with the 90%, as of yet, “unindoctrinated ones”?

“Introduce user friction.”

Namely – “Introduce user friction: Misinformation warnings may be overlooked unless they use designs that force a person to stop and reflect,” said the paper.

There’s also, “gain media exposure” – but, really?

How much more exposure would you like – and where?

And how?

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

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