a social network connection with a conspiracy theorist...

ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

We humans are vulnerable to manipulation by digital misinformation thanks to a complex set of social, cognitive, economic and algorithmic biases. Some of these have evolved for good reasons: Trusting signals from our social circles and rejecting information that contradicts our experience served us well when our species adapted to evade predators. But in today's shrinking online networks, a social network connection with a conspiracy theorist on the other side of the planet does not help inform my opinions.

(This comes from phys.org Misinformation on social media—can technology save us? on November 28, 2016 by Filippo Menczer.)

1. Does the red part suggest "signals/information from our social circles"?
2. Do the bold part and its previous sentence mean "today information from our social circles does not help influence my opinions" while in the past trusting signals from our social circles does?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    1. I view "a social network connection" to mean something like "a Facebook account" or "a membership on some social media site." Menczer and the conspiracy theorist are connected through their interaction on the internet. They probably talk to each other through some online forum or social media site.

    2. Your guess about what it means seems reasonable to me. Menczer is not impressed with the quality or usefulness of many comments that people make and then post online somewhere.
     
    Last edited:

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    1. I view "a social network connection" to mean something like "a Facebook account" or "a membership on some social media site."
    Take "a Facebook account" for example, do you mean "a social network connection with a conspiracy theorist" means "a conspiracy theorist's Facebook account"?

    I thought it means "my connection with a conspiracy theorist through Facebook".
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I thought it means "my connection with a conspiracy theorist through Facebook".
    That definition is fine, ironman. What is your concern? Are you just checking to see whether you understood the sentence correctly? If you are, then I can assure you that you did understand it because this definition makes perfect sense. I didn't use your exact words, but I already told you the same thing in different words: They probably talk to each other through some online forum or social media site.
     
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