Has the increase in information over the years made the internet less reliable?

Currently Google is the most popular website in the world with over 40,000 search queries every second, meaning that nowadays most people have easy and quick access to information on almost any topic you can think about. But does this mean that the internet now is a less reliable source of information compared to when it first started?

Google was created and made accessible in 1998, when there were far fewer webpages than there are today.

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This is a screenshot of how many websites were online as of February 2nd 2016. With all of these resources out there, how can we know what is and isn’t reliable information? The internet was initially set up by the military as a means of communication and research (and to beat other countries in the space and arms race) and back then we can assume the information being sent was fairly reliable, seeing as there were very few sources from which to access it. In this day and age we constantly see new webpages being set up, all with different information to show things in different lights. With websites such as Wikipedia being written by anyone who has access, is it safe to assume that the research and information we have today is less reliable than when the Internet was new? Has the influx of users and creators who provide information over the Internet lead to us having a dilution of true and dependable material?

For now I leave you with this image and will let you decide whether the Internet’s spread of information is as trustworthy as we would like.blog post 2

http://www.viralnova.com/funny-wiki/

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6 Comments

  1. This is a great point to think about. I personally think that at times, the internet can be reliable for information. For example, I first found out about the Paris bombings on Twitter on the night that it happened. I did not see any news coverage on the television until the next morning. The internet gives us the opportunity to find out information instantly as it happens, and even give us more information than a news broadcaster or newspaper would. If we only go by the news from broadcasted media (television and radio) and printed media, then we are only going to hear about what they deem to be news worthy. With the internet, we can find out just about anything going on in the world. However, I do see your point about unreliable information on the internet. Sometimes the sources of the news are unreliable and definitely untrue so it can take some digging before a reliable source of news is found.

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  2. Personally, I think the Internet, which is obviously really powerful and significant tool of searching information nowadays, isn’t always reliable source. The easy example is Wikipedia. Anyone can write or edit articles there and it doesn’t require any special training or academical degree. Although that, it’s still one of the most popular and most widely viewed website in the world. On other hand, we can also google many blogs or tutorials made by simple people rather than professionals. They often suggest us the ways how to do some things, as well as someone’s lifestyle or views. We can’t be sure how people who share their knowledge in the Internet have actually gained it. People can insert whatever they want and like, especially nowadays when everyone has a freedom of speech and expression. That’s why the Internet is not as trustworthy as it would be and we have to be more careful and critical while searching for news and info.

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  3. I think you pose a really interesting question here!

    My first thought is always how lucky we are to have such a wide variety of websites and of course the internet itself.

    However, the more accessible it is, the easier it becomes for people to upload ‘just anything’ which weakens the luxury of the internet and decreases our trust in the provided information.

    Considering spam first began in 1978, flaws, annoyances and mistrust in the internet was probably present a lot earlier on than we think.

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  4. With the an average of 500 websites being created everyday, its hard to pin point which ones are a legitimate source of information. The examples you’ve given above like wikipedia, it is safe to assume that everything you read on the internet needs to be cross checked and made sure its the real deal. However, in cases like social media sites, the account verification is something that shows an account is real. The signature blue tick shows that its not just another fake account. Now if we had that for every website, that would be great.

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  5. I really like the point you make here about questioning the quality of content of the information uploaded to the Internet. I agree that the accessibility of the Internet has caused the dilution of quality of content and allowed for more unreliable sources to contribute content.

    However I think that it is our job as students/Internet users to sift through the excess websites to find the information relevant to us. I think it’s also important not to ignore the fact that the Internet gives us free and easy access to an abundance of useful tools such as e-books, online articles and videos. I think that the positives outweigh the negatives.

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  6. It’s absolutely true that not all the information on the Internet is reliable and that’s not surprising considering its amount. That would not be as disturbing as it is if people were thinking critically over what they’ve read. However, a research conducted by Ofcom shows that only half of the youngsters who are supposed to be internet-savvy are using critical judgement when browsing the Internet. Nearly 20% of the same age group blindly trust search engines, saying they believed that all results returned must be true.

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