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Are you sure that’s true?

Mar 12, 2019

Of late I have been engaged, in a gentle way, in a crusade on Facebook.   Let me explain.  It’s not quite what you think.

You see everyone knows that there is a lot of rubbish on Facebook.  I accept that not everyone will hold the same views on every subject as me,  I’m always a little surprised when anyone does, but there are limits to everyone’s patience, and I have reached mine.  It’s not people sharing opinions that boils me up, it’s when they mindlessly share stuff that is clearly nonsense just because it supports a view they already hold. Sometimes they even know it’s rubbish but share it just because they can.

I suppose this has become rather ‘front of mind’ of late with Brexit having polarized UK society which is, what I believe, somewhat dangerous; while, across the Atlantic, Mr Trump has similarly divided his nation. Sharing a joke or jibe doesn’t really harm anyone.  It’s just a bit of fun.  But when people use bare-faced lies to support a bigoted view on issues that really affect our lives, something must be done.

So, the worm has turned.  If I spot something that I think is untrue I do a bit of research.  I don’t usually have to look far before my suspicions are confirmed.  Then I simply post a comment saying something like ‘Have you checked your facts?  I think you will find this is untrue.’. The results have been remarkable.  In all cases the flow of comments, inevitably supporting the original untruth, has stopped as people think twice before making themselves look rather silly by continuing.  In three cases to date, the original forwarder has acknowledged that the facts were not checked and apologised for spreading tripe. Maybe you could start doing the same?  Don’t just let it go, stop it.  It’s important not to argue. Arguing fuels passions and gives the perpetrator a louder voice.  

You may think it’s a fruitless task, but I don’t.  Social media has allowed malevolent people to manipulate the masses for their own purposes, but what’s good for them is good for us too. If fair-thinking people simply and gently point out the need for communication to be true, or at least honestly felt, then these societal criminals will be denied their voice as quickly and comprehensively as they were granted it.  Worth trying I think.

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