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Activité 1 : Compréhension écrite
« It is tempting to blame the internet, populists or foreign trolls for flooding our otherwise rational society with lies. But this underestimates the scale of the technological and philosophical transformations that are under way. The single biggest change in our public sphere is that we now have an unimaginable excess of news and content, where once we had scarcity. Suddenly, the analogue channels and professions we depended on for our knowledge of the world have come to seem partial, slow and dispensable.
And yet, contrary to initial hype surrounding big data, the explosion of information available to us is making it harder, not easier, to achieve consensus on truth. As the quantity of information increases, the need to pick out bite-size pieces of content rises accordingly. In this radically sceptical age, questions of where to look, what to focus on and who to trust are ones that we increasingly seek to answer for ourselves, without the help of intermediaries. This is a liberation of sorts, but it is also at the heart of our deteriorating confidence in public institutions.
The current threat to democracy is often seen to emanate from new forms of propaganda, with the implication that lies are being deliberately fed to a naive and over-emotional public. The simultaneous rise of populist parties and digital platforms has triggered well-known anxieties regarding the fate of truth in democratic societies. Fake news and internet echo chambers are believed to manipulate and ghettoise certain communities, for shadowy ends. Key groups – millennials or the white working-class, say – are accused of being easily persuadable, thanks to their excessive sentimentality.
This diagnosis exaggerates old-fashioned threats while overlooking new phenomena. Over-reliant on analogies to 20th century totalitarianism, it paints the present moment as a moral conflict between truth and lies, with an unthinking public passively consuming the results. But our relationship to information and news is now entirely different: it has become an active and critical one, that is deeply suspicious of the official line. Nowadays, everyone is engaged in spotting and rebutting propaganda of one kind or another, curating our news feeds, attacking the framing of the other side and consciously resisting manipulation. In some ways, we have become too concerned with truth, to the point where we can no longer agree on it. The very institutions that might once have brought controversies to an end are under constant fire for their compromises and biases.
The threat of misinformation and propaganda should not be denied. As the scholars Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris and Hal Roberts have shown in their book Network Propaganda, there is now a self-sustaining information ecosystem on the American right through which conspiracy theories and untruths get recycled, between Breitbart, Fox News, talk radio and social media. Meanwhile, the anti-axx movement is becoming a serious public health problem across the world, aided by the online circulation of conspiracy theories and pseudo-science. This is a situation where simple misinformation poses a serious threat to society.
But away from these eye-catching cases, things look less clear-cut. The majority of people in northern Europe still regularly encounter mainstream news and information. Britain is a long way from the US experience, thanks principally to the presence of the BBC, which, for all its faults, still performs a basic function in providing a common informational experience. It is treated as a primary source of news by 60% of people in the UK. Even 42% of Brexit party and Ukip voters get their news from the BBC »
Ce texte est extrait du journal Britannique The Guardians, il a été écrit Wiliam Davies et a été publié le 19 Septembre 2019. Le titre de l’article est : Why can’t we agree on what’s true any more?
“Why can’t we agree on what’s true any more?”, The guardians, Thu 19 Sep 2019 06.00 BST.
Questions sur le texte
Une fois que vous avez lu ce texte, prenez une feuille et entrainez vous, voici deux questions qui vous servions pour vous entrainer à vos examens :
– Comment les informations en ligne ont-elles changé notre relation aux informations en général ?
Citez deux changements et expliquez-les
– Selon l’auteur, ces deux changements sont-ils mauvais pour la société ?
Voit-il des raisons d’être optimiste ?
Activité 2 : Texte à trous
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