One of the more concerning aspects of social media can be the potential for people to use these networks to share misinformation and disinformation, but Carly says the issue is much more complex with polarisation also a key consideration in information-sharing networks.
“While correcting blatant health misinformation is one thing, something I have been grappling with is the recent rush and need to classify everything as ‘truth’ or ‘non-truth’. I think binaries like these are actually part of the problem as it reduces the understanding that, in many cases, there are often a myriad of nuances in between. It can instead set up a counter-productive opposition,” Carly says.
“Think about the term ‘fake news’ – this has been used to delegitimise information that people simply don’t agree with so they can pursue a certain agenda. Plus, it raises interesting questions about who decides what is ‘fake’ and ‘real’. What happens when new evidence comes to light?
“I think the issues we are facing with social media and polarisation are actually much broader, and that’s something I’m really looking forward to exploring in my research career.”
JCU Master of Philosophy Student, Carly Lubicz
This important research helps us to better understand human and societal values and behaviours as we all engage in these networks.
“In essence, I hope that we can use the social sciences – including computational social science – to understand more about how we connect and disconnect as a society, both on and offline. This will position us all to better engage in a world that’s inescapably information-driven,” Carly says.