The recent revelations about Facebook allowing hate speech and misinformation to persist are just the tip of the iceberg. People learn to read in school. The idea that something in print can be false is not in the curriculum until high school or college. People are inclined to believe what they read. If what they read makes them angry, they will want to read more and stay in their angry state. That’s human nature.
While Facebook reaches one-third of the world’s population, other unfiltered media probably reaches just as many. Blogs like ours are not subject to any content editing. We are free to write anything we want. If we can piss you off, you will probably become a loyal reader. Don’t believe me? Look at StrictJulieSpanks. When she writes a post claiming COVID vaccinations are wrong to require, comments to her post are double the normal number. Why? Because it pisses off people who have the facts.
Worse, some readers will believe her. She claims that she has the “real” information. In this case, she doesn’t. Her sources are other fake news outlets. My point is that even if Facebook dials back the dangerous posts that incite riots and promote the pandemic, the problem won’t be solved. The solution isn’t to filter hate speech and obviously false and dangerous content. Our constitution is clear that almost anything is free expression. The answer is to teach kids right from the start that just because something is in print and looks authoritative, it may be false.
Most lies are much easier to accept than the truth. Lies can easily have perfect internal consistency. They can selectively include some facts along with false information. Truthful reporting is often incomplete. It has to admit that it doesn’t have every fact neatly in place. The truth is often harder to digest. It’s easier to believe that foreigners streaming over our southern border are criminals, drug addicts, and rapists. Didn’t the former president say that? It’s hard to accept that thousands of desperately poor people are begging us to take them in so they can survive.
Compassion is much more uncomfortable than anger. Sacrificing a tiny bit of personal freedom to get inoculated against a deadly disease is much harder than getting angry that if you get the shot, the next step is to take your gun away. Instead of letting the people against vaccines get you angry, take the time to think about what is really happening. Anger is the enemy of thought. Stupid people march with pitchforks and torches. Thinking people consider the merits of issues and decide based on them. Which are you?
[Mrs.Lion — Someone on Facebook the other day pointed out that Biden’s approval rating is dropping so that makes him a bad president. I agree he’s not a great president, but I think he’s certainly better than the last one. The other thought I had was how many Biden supporters think he’s doing a poor job versus how many Trump supporters thought he did a bad job. I came to the conclusion that Biden supporters are willing, and able, to think for themselves and don’t blindly follow along with the crowd. We’ve just surpassed 700,000 deaths from Covid-19. How many people still think it’s a fake virus? How many people refuse to get the vaccine because it will make them sterile or metallic? These are some of the lies it’s easy to follow when your hero spouts them.]