Last week, Australians woke up to a radically changed information environment. No longer able to share professionally produced news articles with each other on Facebook, cut-off from emergency managers in government, and with many non-government organisations and community groups seemingly vanished overnight.
What the World Health Organisation calls the "infodemic" just got a whole lot worse for Australians.
Facebook has switched off the ability to share content from professional news outlets in Australia, preventing everyone from sharing that content around the world.
It's easy to want to celebrate Facebook's own goal here. Few companies have done so much to infuriate so many in recent years. That they were able to sever so many social and economic links so quickly and with so little apparent care for the communities using their platform says a great deal about how much of our trust they deserve.
But as satire newspaper The Chaser reassured us, "Anti-Vax Facebook mum glad to see her 'real news' sources are still up."
While the Australian media's record on truth in reporting has taken some big hits in recent years, cutting Australians off from professional journalism is a blow likely to cause serious harm to families, community groups and anyone looking to learn more about the safety of vaccines, the role of windmills in the Texas blackout or the safety of mobile phone towers.
The rise of the big platforms has led to rampant misinformation, "filter bubbles", coordinated state-sponsored disinformation campaigns, plus a whole host of other digital harms.
While at one time the argument that we should just ignore this mess made some sense, today we can see what happens when these narratives are allowed to spread unchecked.
Just look at the United States or the UK for what can happen when factual reporting is replaced with misinformation and propaganda.
But there are countries leading the way in helping people across society, and across age groups, to counter the bad actors who spread these lies and who support those who need better fact-checking skills.
Much like the work of Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Manhire (or Morris) in making Covid-19 information digestible, so too counter misinformation needs to be made with audiences in mind.
Finland, long a target of coordinated disinformation campaigns from Russia, is the world leader in media literacy education. They start in primary school and continue through adulthood to ensure everyone is able to recognise bad information and stop it in its tracks.
But Taiwan is the real standout when it comes to educating adults. Using the "humour not rumour" framework, they work tirelessly to identify both organic misinformation and organised disinformation to provide rapid debunking to their online communities. Taiwan is protecting their information environment with silly memes. And their Covid-19 statistics show it's working.
New Zealand needs to be doing the same. Information warfare and people simply not having their facts straight have created an environment where violent extremists and hate-fuelled conspiracies are putting our social cohesion at risk.
These conspiracy theories are fuelled by hate and lies. They harm our young people, our elders and our most vulnerable communities.
Facebook and other social media can't be relied upon to keep us safe, and New Zealand's power to control these platforms through regulation is limited. So we need to take information literacy seriously and we need to use education to make people less vulnerable to bad online takes.
By combining both approaches - the Finland model and the Taiwan model - New Zealand can reduce the spread of hate, protect our Covid-19 public health response and secure our democracy from overseas threats.
It might seem strange that a funny meme can stop misinformation, but the tactics the alt-right has used to stir up anti-Islamic sentiment and convince people that masks are emasculating show that humour works. People will share funny memes. Shouldn't those memes come from those acting with care and aroha for our communities?
Combining open-source intelligence tools and humour to create Internet Weather Reports, which offer real-time debunking and signature Kiwi wit to poke back at those who would harm our national wellbeing, is what the evidence shows us works.
Alongside community-led education programmes on misinformation, we can create communities devoted to keeping our internet hilarious - and safe. Less anti-5G nonsense, more doge memes.
New Zealand is also fortunate to have a workforce ready and willing to step-up - but they need professional development support. Librarians work with the public every day on information searching and evaluating.
By bringing the librarians fully up to speed on how mis- and disinformation spread, we can ensure that every community served by a library, including schools, has a fighting chance of understanding the issues, and at least being able to decide for themselves what is real and what actually is fake news.
If we can change the world with our airline safety videos, perhaps we can do the same with our approach to critical thinking.
• Mandy Henk is the CEO of Tohatoha, a New Zealand based non-governmental organisation that works to build more equitable digital communities for Aotearoa and the world. www.tohatoha.org.nzq