An Internet without Lies

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It's been a real struggle for me to keep up with my blog and Internet trends have not been helping me.  Every time I turn around, there seems to be another link (ironically posted on some techno-blog) declaring that the blog is dead.  Others report that  blogs have become indistinguishable from online newspapers and magazines.  No longer an actual weblog conveying opinion and flow of thought, the real blog has been replaced by 140 character tweets, tumbles, and social network postings.

I was not ready to give up the fight, but now I have to wonder if it's worth the trouble to continue blogging in light of new state laws that seem destined to spread like wildfire, a wildfire starting right here in the heartland. 

The state of Ohio and several other Midwestern states seem determined to wipe out misinformation on the Internet.  A small idea that started in the Consumer Protection Section of the State Attorney General's office has joined with proponents for full online legal disclosure at OPIF (Online Public Inspection File).  Details are difficult to piece together, but the bottom line is that authorities are prepared to prosecute online posters of "false, misleading, or unverified material on the Internet."  The initiative, labeled NO LIES (No more Online Libel, Inaccuracy, Evasion, and Slander) wants to cleanse the internet of "the exponential growth of falsehoods and inaccuracies that permeate the World Wide Web."   Attorneys General, Consumer Protection Advocates, and citizens weary of political polarization on the Web are giving this new initiative close scrutiny.

At first, I thought perhaps there could be a new role for libraries in policing the Internet for inaccuracies, false claims, and under-resourced scholarly works.  But selfishly, I began to realize that I lacked the resources necessary to validate my own posts.  With the burden of fact-checking every claim and walking the fine line of reporting and editorializing, I'm starting to wonder whether it's worth it to even try.

About the Author

Andrew K. Pace

I am Executive Director for Networked Library Services at OCLC. I am also a past President of LITA. On occasion, I am known for pontificating "on stage, in writing, and via the web" on a variety of issues important to libraries.

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