There can be no denying the value of the virtual world: truth is offered with a startling immediacy, able to be examined by the masses without care or pause. Statistics and campaigns are provided without hesitation – allowing for a politicking public to learn all they wish. Social policy can be found with the press of a button. A computer monitor can become a gateway to reforms. And the emergence of this medium has led Internet Democracy to become one of the most coveted of resources. Generations are relying on their screens to offer clarity.
But such clarity may not always be accurate. It may instead be a collection of false facts and wayward opinions.
There is no form of censorship on the Internet. This is often claimed to be an advantage (and rightly so). The intention is to promote the exchange of ideas, even those that are not considered popular within the majority. The rules are decided by the individual; and web pages are governed by an assumed code – one of ethics, responsibility and trust.
That trust is not always well-founded, however.
Internet Democracy is dependent on honesty. When that is denied, the information individuals read (and believe) is filled to deceptions and unfounded accusations. These can damage the reputations of candidates, specific laws or even the forums themselves. It is vital therefore that there be no blind acceptance of anything that is posted on message boards or social networks.
And this is not always an easy thing: there is the expectation of truth, the assumption that all political words are well intended. Mistakes are far too common, however, and a deliberate slip of the fingers can change the entire meaning of a sentence – which can shade all opinions far differently than they would’ve been.
Censorship cannot exist online. The understanding that information can be false, however, must still be recognized. Be cautious. Be sensible. Be prepared to question all that’s read.