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At Variety & Rolling Stone’s Truth Seekers Summit, presented by Showtime, writers, filmmakers and journalists gathered virtually to discuss how social media has amplified and accelerated the age…
At Variety & Rolling Stone’s Truth Seekers Summit, presented by Showtime, writers, filmmakers and journalists gathered virtually to discuss how social media has amplified and accelerated the age of disinformation.
“It’s certainly true that 30 percent of this country has always been crazy, going back to the Revolutionary War. But they couldn’t find each other,” said Billy Ray, producer writer and director of “The Comey Rule,” during his session.
Ray joined Rolling Stone’s Washington, D.C. bureau chief Andy Kroll along with Anna Merlin, senior staff writer at Vice and author of “Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power”; Yamiche Alcindor, “PBS NewsHour’s” White House correspondent; John Podesta, former White House chief of staff; and Cullen Hoback, producer, writer and director of “Q: Into the Storm.”
“If you look at the 2000s versus after 2010, you had a lot of these lo-fi forums like 8chan or 4chan, but the conspiracy theories and ideas that existed on those platforms remained on the fringe,” Hoback said. “In the last four to five years, what we saw is that they were escaping the chan. They were finding their way onto YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the algorithms were like gasoline on top of these.”
Adding on, Podesta highlighted the fact that social media giants are not only enabling disinformation on their platforms; they’re benefiting from it.
“The media landscape is different and particularly the social media landscape. The speed with which information moves is much quicker,” Podesta said. “Underlying all of that is the business model of some of the big social media companies, particularly Facebook, that promote and hype disinformation as a way of increasing their own revenue stream.”
Watch the full discussion above.