Post-truth is a cultural phenomenon where objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. In a post-truth culture people assert and defend their opinions without regard to facts or logic. In a post-truth culture consumers of information may also choose to suspend judgement about the authenticity or credibility of information, provided that it supports their existing beliefs. Post-truth culture is different from a culture in which alternative opinions about what is true are contested; it is a culture that has ceased to value truth itself.
Please watch my explainer video to get a quick overview of some of the issues surrounding post-truth.
Post-truth issues have both societal and technological causes and effects. Evidence suggests that developments in the way Internet technology is used, particularly social media and search personalisation, are responsible for an explosion of post-truth phenomena. The effects of post-truth phenomena on society are profoundly harmful; they include political polarisation, extremism, social divisiveness, electoral interference and the destabilisation of democratic processes.
Causes, effects, trends and solutions will be discussed in subsequent posts.