A Digital Picture to Hold Us Captive? A Flusserian Interpretation of Misinformation Sharing on Social Media

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Abstract

In this article I investigate online misinformation from a media philosophy perspective. I, thus move away from the debate focused on the semantic content, concerned with what is true or not about misinformation. I argue rather that online misinformation is the effect of an informational climate promoted by user micro-behaviours such as liking, sharing, and posting. Misinformation online is explained as the effect of an informational environment saturated with and shaped by techno-images in which most users act automatically under the constant assault of stirred emotions, a state resembling what media philosopher Vilém Flusser has called techno-magical consciousness. I describe three ways in which images function on social media to induce this distinctive, uncritical mode of consciousness, and complement Flusser’s explanation with insights from the phenomenology of emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)485-504
JournalPhilosophy Today
Volume65
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Misinformation
  • Critical Thinking
  • Social Media
  • Flusser
  • Online emotions
  • digital images
  • techno-images
  • magical consciousness

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