Misinformation – Can we limit the impact it has upon our lives?

In a world of information technology and social media, the dissemination of so-called ‘facts’ is faster, more insistent and more far-reaching than ever before. These facts are critically important in informing people’s value judgements and subsequent decisions, but unfortunately they cannot be relied upon. Rather, we increasingly appear to live in a post-truth world, where politicians, corporations and the media constantly reassert falsehoods in an effort to further their own objectives by influencing the judgement of those who elect them or finance their operations. This practice can frequently have disastrous results, as the Chilcot Enquiry, for example, and more recently the EU Referendum campaign, has illustrated all too clearly. Joseph O’Leary is the Senior Researcher at Full Fact, a non-partisan and independent organisation that fact-checks information within the UK and also works with government departments and research institutions to improve the quality and communication of information at source. He will discuss these issues with us at the end of a period where distorted facts and erroneous reporting has had particularly profound outcomes all over the world.