Experts from around the world gathered to discuss and debunk some of the most common internet myths, at the Internet Governance Forum Berlin Conference, which took place in Berlin, Germany, from 25-29, November 2019.
We are set to bring you, some of the busted myths, spread throughout the coming weeks of 2020.
Before we kick off with this resource, let us give an introduction, as discussed by Matthias C. kettemann and Stephan Dreyer below.
The Moon landing was a fake. The Earth is flat. Vaccines are bad. These are myths you encounter on the internet.
But these are not Internet myths, as we understand them – and debunk them – in this article; we rather bust Internet-related myths.
In doing so, we rely on a board conception of myths, as coined by the influential French cultural theorist, Roland Barthes; a myth is, a cultural construction that, appears to consist, of universal truths embedded, in common sense.
It is a myth, for instance, that, what people do on the Internet, cannot be regulated. It is a myth that, protocols, do not have politics.
These powerful constructions, of reality, mystify the actual challenges, in regulating the internet.
While containing some truth (it is often more difficult, to regulate online behaviour, than offline activities and protocols have fewer “politics”, than laws, which are distilled politics), they obfuscate what is, actually, at stake.
This is the very reason that there are forces, within the Internet policy field, that have vested interest, in promulgating myths.
The monsters of bad policy, lurk in the shadows of myths, about the way the Internet is, being run.
They feast and grow, on disinformation, misinformation and the uncritical belief, in stories that, we tell ourselves, to make sense of the world(s) we construct, for ourselves, to make sense of the space we inhabit.
Psychologically, myths are attractive because, they seem intuitive. Myths sound, like helpful simplifications, in ever more complex times.
They suggest that, we can stop reflecting, stop questioning the status quo, stop thinking, of how to improve what we perceive.
If search engines provide objective results, then, there is no pressing need, to open up a societal discourse, on the duties of those structuring information.
All is, not, however, well in the state of the Internet, (which, of course, is not a state, by itself: that laws do not apply online is, a powerful myth, in its own right).
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