There are many wonderful, kind hearted, lovely, caring, people in this world. Unfortunately there is also a smaller amount of disheartening, despicable, loathsome, egotistical, bullying trolls in this world too, and some of them are on social media. But thats okay because so are loads of nice people and generally they out number the trolls so mostly it works out okay.
However, I have started to notice a worrying trend of trickery, a pattern of false, misleading, disinformation being mistakenly shared and spread upon social media. This disinformation is created for a wide range of reasons and is spread with the best possible intentions by people who have been mislead into thinking the information it portrays is accurate and wishing to spread the word.
(The old proverb “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” feels somewhat astute here).
To give a recent examples of this disinformation spread we need only to look at the British MP parliament voting MEME. This MEME has been spread and shown by many upon social media,
It appears in a range of formate with different information being displayed upon the debates.
Generally the MEME is one debate showing no MPs the other debate showing a full house of MPs. The empty seated MP is generally captions with MPs discussing welfare reform or some kind of social issue that effects the population, the other picture however of the full house is generally a debate about MP wages or something to do with the MPs them selves.
I’ll full admit when I first saw this MEME appear I was taken in and thought this was shocking and disgraceful. I began to see the MEME appear time and time again upon my newsfeed. Being shared and commented on by very intelligent, rational friends, believing the information it portrays to be correct. However the MEME and the debate is FAKE NEWS. The purpose is to spread disinformation, pandering and aiding the popular view of many of us have towards the UK Parliament (I am of course at no point defending MPs or any views or acts they have done, personally I think most MPs are a bunch of halfwits but I do feel we should be correct when criticising the halfwits).
These types of disinformation MEME’s are appealing with more frequency upon our social media platforms. The MEME’s do not enlighten but reinforce per-held prejudice upon a subject and far from opening up thought and debate they close down and strength our wrongly held beliefs.
The annoying thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way, it took a 20 seconds to discover the truth, a simple search of the date of the debates displayed clarified that there were no debates taking place upon those subjects on those days. I also found this article from the Spectator by Isbell Hardman titled “the menace of memes: how pictures can paint a thousand lies” which gives more detail.
The lesson here is simple, QUESTION EVERYTHING……. but why?
I’ve always been fond of the quote “Know the truth and the truth shall set you free” . It is in search of the truth that we truly become enlightened and well informed. If we always question what we see, we will understand the world better. The world is there with everything for us to know, it has never been so easy to discover. This is the age of information, all we have to do is not be lazy and look things up and then if they are true, share away.
Thanks for reading.