Fake News

Wednesday, Apr 24 2019 03:26 PM

Indonesia is under martial law after the controversial recent elections. Jakarta’s central business district has been cordoned off. Spanning a radius of five kilometres from the centre, the move, authorities say, was necessary to prevent the withdrawal of ATM funds and safe-deposit-box contents from financial institutions. The authorities also said they would limit domestic cash withdrawals to US$200 (just under 3 million Indonesian Rupiah) daily.

Stock markets around the world plunged after news of separate fines imposed on the same day on both Apple and Google. Major tech stocks got the worst beating, but gold prices surged.

Cryptocurrency exchanges were hacked in a synchronised global attack. US$210 billion worth of bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies were stolen before the exchanges were shut down. The hackers — believed to be Russian — struck at midnight EST on New Year’s Day, while most Americans were still celebrating the new year.

Welcome to fake news.

Fake news — deliberate attempts to spread misinformation, propaganda or hoaxes, mainly through social media platforms but also, surprisingly, through mainstream media — is all the news these days.

Fake news is by no means a new problem. The use of disinformation and propaganda — by individuals, communities, and states — is probably as old as our quest for power and competition for resources.

What has changed, and changed dramatically, is the number of fake-news purveyors, the speed at which fake news can spread today, and our ability to cope. The problem is very much a product of our increasingly polarised times and win-at-all-cost mentalities.

Deeming fake news to be a major problem for some resource-depleted groups with a marked ability to accept propositions uncritically, the Singapore government is introducing anti-fake-news legislation that will become law in the second-half of 2019.

France, India, Malaysia and the UK are among many countries that are considering or introducing, or have introduced, fake-news laws. And this list does not include countries already notorious for Internet censorship (China, Syria, Iran, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, etc).

The opening up of economies has led to more trade; it has also led to the unprecedented spread of ideas. The Internet has connected humanity like never before but it is also drowning its users in a sea of unproven, inaccurate, conflicting or plainly wrong information. The ‘democratisation of publishing’ has led to an explosion of sources and an implosion of trust.

The availability of fake news has predictably led to the rise of trusted curators and repositories of news and information, different in at least three main ways from the local authorities of old: the new arbiters tend to be private entities, they are mostly online, and they are now global.

How do we discern what’s true? How do we access reliable sources?

Networks offering information, influence, and power; cryptocurrencies, offering pseudonymous, convenient, global transactability; private vaults offering discreet access … these are options available to anyone, not just the modern moneyed classes.

Discernment is, in fact, possible and it’s even easier now. Despite the fog of fake news, access to the right stuff — reliable sources, professional connections, trusted information — is inexpensive, easy, and more important than ever.

The curated newsletters of many industries — financial, health, investment, science & technology, and news in general — are available. Con: You have to pay for useful, reliable information. Pro: Useful, reliable information is just an inexpensive subscription away.

Reliable information from trusted sources is both widely available and inexpensive. The upside for the knowledge-hungry, security-conscious crowd — characteristics of our private-vault clients, for example — is that they have never had it so good.

The combination of access to trusted experts from any part of the world, the possibility of participating in global deals, and the low cost of subscription to these services mean boundless opportunities to get ahead of the hoi polloi.

Copyright © Vault@268 Pte Ltd   Author: Vinay Kumar Rai