I spend a great deal of time on social media sites. It started as a way for
me to interact with potential readers since I’m a writer, and a place where I
could find camaraderie with other writers. Something has happened along
Everyone knows that what you see online isn’t always true, right?
Especially when it comes to buying the latest pill that will cure some ail, or
a face cream that will miraculously erase years of lines and wrinkles.
Just a minute, I need to backup a minute. I started the last paragraph with
an assumption that might not be true. Does everyone know things online
aren’t always true?
If you go to Facebook, the social media site I use most often, you will find
tons of posts and reposts that make one wonder if the person who posted it
really believes what they are posting. Our current President has often
talked about “Fake News”. However, it is not something you only find on
the news - it has entered social media with the verocity of a hungry baby
finally finding the nipple of the bottle containing her next meal.
That verocity is driven by a person’s determination to have their opinion
heard. In fact, they are so driven, at times they don’t even consider whether
what they are posting is fact or fiction or maybe something in between -
we’ll call that a distortion.
I want to note that I make the latter statement with hope in my heart
because some of the posts I’ve seen seem to stir up hate more than
anything else. Hate of immigrants and refugees, hate of past presidents or
presidential candidates, even hate toward the youth who spoke out about
gun control after the Florida school massacre.
But is it just hate they are stirring? Could they also be stirring the pot of
voters, hoping to get a few more to jump into their political stew?
Before I share some examples, I recently complained about these posts to
someone here at Indivisible Berks (ID) who reminded me about the recent
findings from the investigation of Russian campaign tampering. I looked
into this and found that due to this at least Facebook is trying to locate the
false postings and eliminate them.
It seems to me that maybe the Russians are not the only ones using this
tactic. And, just in case anyone accuses me of being biased to the left -
they are correct by the way - my integrity as a journalist keeps me
checking all posts that seem suspect. Still, most I have found are coming
from the conservative right.
Here is one example:
To find out if this photo was actually what it seems - a photo of Barack Obama - I went to
Snopes, a fact-checking site that investigates not only Facebook posts, but any rumor that seems to be going around. They found it to be FALSE. It was a photo that was photoshopped. I often double check with other fact check sites. Like with the following example:
In the case of this YouTube post, the actual footage seen is real. It was
from a segment run on the Jimmy Kimmel show posted on in January of
2016, meant to show how people react to even bad things if it is presented
to them as positive.
Unfortunately, the post seen is presenting this as people congratulating
North Korea on having the hydrogen bomb.
Click here to view the video on FB
This is one that falls under distortion. It was the heading, date and context
that was misleading. It was posted in September 2017 after the war of
words between NK’s leader and ours. This post does show that often there
is a thin line between fact and fiction that makes it difficult to decipher
which it is. Sadly it was made to seem as though the people commenting
were California liberals, when these were actually random people on the
street, thus again stirring the stew.
Last, I will tell you about a post of a homeless woman who claims Donald
Trump has allowed her to live in one of his hotels rent free. She even
claims he sends her flowers every week.
Click here to view video on FB
This story is a bald-faced lie! My source at Hoax Slayer has assured me
this was a fake. The video made the rounds during the election and seems
to have resurfaced once again as a reminder of how kind DT can be to
those going through difficult times.
I could fill this up with more examples, but I would rather leave you with a
suggestion. Some people may say ignore these posts. I say don’t. If they
are allowed to continue making the rounds of social media many will serve
to create more disharmony where disharmony is not needed.
My son put it well, “I long for the days when I went on Facebook and mostly
saw pictures of what people had for their last meal.”
More might share his feelings. I say be an activist and work toward
honesty. First check with the fact check sites I use. You will find more if you
do a search. Check with more than one to make sure they are in
agreement about the veracity of the post. If it is a lie, get it removed by
clicking the three dots at the upper right hand corner of the post and
clicking “Give Feedback on this Post.” You will have several choices.
In case you think that won’t work, I had one post I wanted very much to use
for this article. It has been removed. It would have demonstrated just how
hateful these posts can be.
I once was reprimanded by FB for posting a link to my latest novel on too
many groups in one day. I certainly hope FB is doing the same to people
who are posting lies. There is one thing for certain, they won’t if they don’t
Links to the fact-checking sites I use:
Let me close with this. So no one thinks I am one-sided in what I do, I just
found out that Melania Trump did not hire an exorcist to clean
posted by Pam Garlick