The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online

In a recent article, experts are concerned about the continuation of bad behavior on the internet.  Some predict that it will grow worse before it gets better. Others foresee a time when social media “safe zones” will be separated from “free zones” and monitored by Artificial Intelligence.  This will compromise privacy and inhibit the exchange of free ideas.

To illuminate current attitudes about the potential impacts of online social interaction over the next decade, Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted a large-scale canvassing of technology experts, scholars, corporate practitioners and government leaders. Some 1,537 responded to this effort between July 1 and Aug. 12, 2016 (prior to the late-2016 revelations about potential manipulation of public opinion via hacking of social media). They were asked:

“In the next decade, will public discourse online become more or less shaped by bad actors, harassment, trolls, and an overall tone of griping, distrust, and disgust?”

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