Future Crunch
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Future Crunch

Weaponised Narratives

and what to do about them

1. Admit you’ve got a problem

As we all know, the first step to overcoming an addiction is to admit there’s a problem in the first place. Once you do that, then you can start thinking about what you’re consuming a little differently.

2. Throw away the keys

You wouldn’t give an alcoholic 24/7 access to a liquor cabinet right? Well, the same applies to your digital life. One of the most powerful things I’ve done is delete what I call BLACK HOLE apps from my phone. These are the ones that are windows to the entire world, turning the firehose on full tap. You know the apps that you open for 5 minutes and find yourself still clicking an hour later? Those are black hole apps. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, anything that allows you to engage with the endless stream of information from the outside world.

3. Hack the algorithm

Your feed is not set in stone. It’s set by your behaviour. Every time you click on an article, or like someone’s rant, or retweet the latest political outrage, you tell the algorithm that you want to see more. It’s like Kaonashi (No-face), from Spirited Away. The more digital gold you feed it, the larger it grows, until eventually it consumes everything. Stop feeding the bad news bubble with clicks and likes.

4. Build a bunker

Take cover from information bombardment. One of my favourite tricks is to charge your phone outside your bedroom. Alarm clocks are cheap these days… get a nice one that wakes you up gently. Another good tip is to switch your phone onto aeroplane mode at dinner each evening, and only turn it off after you’ve finished your morning routine the next day.

5. Take responsibility

Finally and most importantly take responsibility for your own digital life. Regulators aren’t going to save us. They might be very good at putting on congressional hearings, and grilling tech lawyers for the cameras, but real action is going to take years. In the meantime, there are concrete actions all of us can take right now to get control back from the algorithms, protect ourselves against weaponised narratives, and to start to fight back.

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Angus Hervey

From Melbourne and Cape Town, with love. Political economist and journalist, and co-founder of futurecrun.ch