May 26, 2021
10. What challenges are raised by the dissemination/communication of knowledge?
Object 1: A screenshot of a pro anorexia group chat on WhatsApp
This is a screenshot of a pro anorexia group chat on WhatsApp. It was posted in 2017. The words were originally written in German, they have been translated. This is interesting from a Tok perspective because the women on this group saw no problem communicating this harmful information, and instead saw their group chat as a way of helping other girls who also wanted to lose wight and as a way of connecting with other who are also feeling the same. However, those who don’t suffer from an eating disorder will find this atmosphere of controlling food consumption among friends, normalising having an eating disorder.
This object enriches the exhibition because it raises the challenge that having access to these group chats allow people to communicate fasting techniques which encourage others to limit their food intake; clearly posing a serious danger to their health. The response to these damaging methods is met by support from other members, therefore the true nature of these processes is overshadowed by the group support. In this way, the screenshot highlights how having access to
groups which spread such damaging information can lead to a social pressure to agree, support and take part in these procedures. This object further enriches the exhibition because it raises the challenge that when members communicate how long they have fasted for, it fuels others to do the same, normalising eating very small amounts of food. It is interesting that someone who does not struggle with an eating disorder would believe that telling other people to fast, and how long for is incredibility toxic, whereas girls in this group would find this chat supportive and helpful. This illustrates how perspective and individual reaction can be very different depending on your state of mind and the importance of censorship in social media for impressionable and vulnerable people.
Object 2: Screenshots of a comment section under a YouTube video of Emma Watson
These are screenshots of a comment section under a YouTube video of Emma Watson explaining why men have trouble with feminism. It came out in 2017. This is interesting from a Tok perspective because of the opinions and interpretation of the topic. Many of the comments like one above, maintain that Emma Watson explaining how men feel is wrong, and counter- intuitive to the ideals of modern feminism. The other side of the argument sate that their offense may mean their correct.
This object is particularly interesting for this exhibition because almost all the comments on this video state that a woman talking about men’s feelings is wrong. However, the comments on video presented the challenge that when people communicate avidly about shared beliefs, in this case feminism, it can cause echo chambers. This meant that the people in the comments were conversing with people who agreed with them, leaving little room for an alternate opinion Generally, echo chambers leave people with view which only corresponds their own ideology, causing ignorance.
This object enriches this exhibition because it raises the challenge that when people communicate about feminism in an atmosphere where people are agree and support each other’s beliefs, it can cause people to bully and degrade who challenge their opinion rather than probe and question the other side respectfully. This creates a hostile environment which is focused on the majority belief rather than critiquing an analysing the problematic nature of the video.
Object 3: A Screenshot of a fake news article written about American Senator, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
This is a screenshot of a fake news article written about American Senator, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2011. The article was re-published on Facebook and gained popularity through the media platform. It claims that she wants to impose a ban on motorcycles. This object is interesting from a Tok perspective because it raises awareness of how easy it is to create articles which communicate false information, resulting in disastrous effects for its subject.
This object enriches this exhibition because it motivates one to think about the lack of filters on the internet which separate fake news from real, highlighting the challenge that people are able to communicate false information to a large audience because of the lack of ‘security’ to create fake articles. This leaves vast amounts of people able to access untrustworthy news articles just as easily as trustworthy, fact-based accounts. This level of ease in communication across false and true news articles can be dangerous to political candidates on a personal and political level, like this one was to Ocasio-Cortez’s political agenda.
This object further enriches the exhibition by the reach that it had. This Facebook post gained 6k shares, 696 comments and 1.3k likes and dislikes combined illustrating how many people are politicly uneducated, use this post as a source of valid information, and who use this platform to spread political propaganda. This effectively underlines how the increase in access to the internet and rise in mass- communication through social media can be detrimental to the understanding of politics, causing effects in social life.
Brenneisen, Nadja. July 8, 2015. ‘I Spent a Week Undercover in a Pro-Anorexia WhatsApp Group’. VICE. Accessed April 4, 2021. https://www.vice.com/en/article/vdx7ex/i-spent-a- week-in-a-pro-ana-whatsapp-group-talking-to-the-goddess-of-emaciation-876
Entertainment Weekly. ‘Emma Watson Explains Why Some Men Have Trouble With Feminism | Entertainment Weekly’. Youtube Video, 3:34. February 21, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xWJf8cERoM
Gilbert, Ben. November 6, 2019. ‘The 10 most-viewed fake-news stories on Facebook in 2019 were just revealed in a new report’. Insider. Accessed April 4, 2021. https://www.businessinsider.com/most-viewed-fake-news-stories-shared-on-facebook-2019- 2019-11?r=US&IR=T