“Words from readers” - Information: when doubt becomes poison

In the era of troll factories, “bots”, fake news, incessant alerts, fatwas from all sides calling for hatred on social networks, the dismissal of moderators on the social network X (formerly Twitter) in the name of the so-called freedom of expression so dear to American culture, anti-democratic, anti-vax, anti-everything conspiracies

“Words from readers” - Information: when doubt becomes poison

In the era of troll factories, “bots”, fake news, incessant alerts, fatwas from all sides calling for hatred on social networks, the dismissal of moderators on the social network X (formerly Twitter) in the name of the so-called freedom of expression so dear to American culture, anti-democratic, anti-vax, anti-everything conspiracies... truncated information, "deepfakes", "hoaxes" and I don't know what else, here is now that the false takes even more the appearance of the true with the “doppelgänger” article campaigns [the name given to a disinformation campaign] usurping with disconcerting ease and credibility the visual identity of the largest national media like Le Figaro, Le Monde, Libération and others.

In this context, I am convinced that doubt, distrust, even mistrust, will invade everything and will end up taking over. Aged around fifty, I was educated in the 1980s and 1990s in a framework in which doubt served reflection. When it comes to religion, my parents instilled in me that doubt was part of faith in God. God sends messages or sometimes puts obstacles on the road that we do not always understand at first. Only hindsight allows us to understand a posteriori.

The path is sometimes more important than the facts. When we look at the development of the war in Ukraine, the course, the logic and therefore the path are more important than the facts, however enormous they may be. When we look at the despicable October 7 attack in Israel, knowledge of the very long road that led Israelis and Palestinians to the impasse they are in today matters more than the facts.

Of course, this is not a question of ignoring the facts. And that is the problem. Doubt can serve a noble cause when it is part of religious faith, when it serves scientists to pose new equations, when it serves to move forward. The evolution of the Internet that we are currently observing does not push us in this direction at all.

Doubt seems to become cumbersome and toxic in a context where it is everywhere. As such, I think that “deepfakes” and “doppelgänger” are for the moment the final stage of the temporary victory of lies over the search for truth, the partial victory of the camp of war and hatred over that of peace and education.[...] I see that what is most precious in my education, that is to say my ability to trust ever further, is more more altered.

What do you think happens in a democracy when the ability to trust is reduced to the lowest common denominator? As for me, I resist this collapse. But I see around me that many have already given up. Impression felt very strongly these days: a majority of French voters are currently seeking to cut themselves off from the news to no longer let themselves be polluted. This is understandable, but it is dangerous.

What was once obvious and relatively undisturbing, namely getting information, has become extremely difficult and disturbing. When we are sufficiently informed today, we would like to be ignorant so as not to be disturbed. To be informed is to be disturbed. So, in conclusion of this text, I apologize for the inconvenience and assure you that it will not be the last.

Sébastien Peyronet, Maurepas (Yvelines)