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Scoping out post-truth issues and how might KO help

In 2016, two leading Western democracies, the UK and the US, held a referendum and an election that attracted criticism concerning the quality of information available to the voting public. The Internet and social media in particular were key battlegrounds during the 2016 elections. Internet search engines and social media technology companies have radically transformed how people search for information and how information producers feed content to their consumers. Among the unintended consequences of some of these technologies are an increase in political and social polarisation, as well as in the dissemination of false information. These phenomena have been so prominent that the Oxford Dictionary chose ‘post-truth’ as word of the year for 2016. Humanity cannot afford to accept post-truth as the new norm. Post-truth misinformation/disinformation threaten to undermine democratic processes, promote extremism, and destabilise society. These problems must be tackled, and both technological and social solutions are needed. How can  the Knowledge Organization community address the challenge?

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