So, I'm ready to go off on a bit of tear right now. Last night, one of my nephews posted to Facebook something he got off Instagram. It was a "story" about how children, who 'all' had flu shots, are dying from the latest flu outbreak. I immediately informed him that it was a false story. He asked me how it could be, because it had "quotes from the CDC and CBS news"? I had to explain to him that there are quite of few sites that put up stories with either false quotes, or quotes lifted from other, factual, stories. This is done to lend credence to whatever agenda they're trying to push. Many of these come from the same camps as the anti-vaxxers, who have also been repeatedly proven false, yet somehow still convince people they're correct. I even reminded him of the all the false stories planted on Facebook about Clinton during the election. He shared a number of those, and every time he did, I provided him with the factual accounts. I also reminded him that there has been ample evidence that many of those planted stories were part of the repeatedly-proved Russian interference in our elections. He's 15-years-old, and I am constantly reminding him that he needs to fact-check the shit he sees on the internet before he shares it, or believes it. I know it pisses him off whenever I do this, and I honestly don't care. Don't I, and for that matter--don't we ALL, have an obligation to point out the falsehoods being spread online? Especially among our young people? Isn't it worth pissing them off to get them to think more critically and be skeptical of what they see online, or anywhere else? What say you?
i'm ready to pull the plug on fakebook, in particular since discovering this mob. & the main reason is not so much all the "fake news" as such, it's rather that everyone seems to be eager to latch onto them unquestioningly. i use to decide my truth by what i experience, more & more so, not by what i get fed pre-masticated (don't have a tv either). people on fakebook are drooling after that shit, & should i dare to post my own thought process .... void. here i get feedback, interest, response, encouragement. worlds apart.
Please please please keep telling your nephew to seek out the truth. You don’t want him to become one of those people that don’t accept the truth! And there are people like that. It’s scary. I went on the comments of a conservative post once and someone had the same last name as a famous person. Is that so and sos brother they kept asking. I looked it up. It wasn’t. I posted that it wasn’t. They ignored it. Kept posting that it was his brother. I posted it again. It was like it was invisible and they couldn’t see it. It’s just so so dangerous. And it’s happening a lot. I was on a site with a man that not only believes Obama is a Muslim he truly truly believes that Michelle Obama is a man. Seriously. I asked him why he thought that and he said there’s a picture where you can see an indentation in her dress...!! I kid you not. Frightening.
I didn't grow up being taught to be skeptical of content because the internet wasnt around (in widespread use) when I was young--it wasn't an issue. I was about fifteen when I started using the internet, and in some ways mature for my age--so I was savvy enough to know that in a marketplace of communication that's open to every Tom, Dick, and Harry--with an anonymity option--people can and will say anything. I never took anything for granted because it was all new to me, and I was already mostly mature.
Today's fifteen-year-olds have grown up never knowing a world that didn't have such a marketplace of communication...and, I'm guessing, by and large have never been explicitly taught the appropriate attitude of disbelief with which to approach it. This sort of attitude needs to be a cultural thing. Schools can have a class, parents can give a "talk"--but if the attitude is not reflected in and supported by the broader cultural milieu, it's not going to stick.
Our social culture has not caught up to our technology. Story of the human race.
It's also a general intelligence thing: you don't know what you don't know. You can't understand things that never occur to you. Believing whatever you see on the internet just happens to play nicely into that dynamic. People are lazy; they don't want to think and will go to great lengths to avoid it. Never before have we had such a need to scrutinize and think independently. It's a constellation of factors.
Keep doing what you're doing. You're on the right side of history.
Maybe you can inoculate your family; I hope so. The culture needs to change, though, if we're to stem this tide toward idiotic credulity.
Re the flu: the flu shot always carries a certain probability of being ineffective because its formulated based on a prediction of which strain(s) will be active in a given season. They make their best guess from genetic analysis and mutation rates--and they can be wrong. Just because you got the flu after getting your shot doesn't mean any mistakes were necessarily made.
I appaud your tenacity...it is work! It is work, just keeping myself straight, on what is out there! Sometimes it feels like society has been twisted into a strange shape. What if, the mentally unhealthy have found their niche and now the rest of us have got to navigate thru the muck to find and keep the truth? Then we are forced to question truth! This is not easy...
I have adult friends who will forward BS around as accepted fact only because there read it on the internet, FB, in emails. I repeatedly direct them to debunking sites (Snope, Authority websites, etc) but it does absolutely no good. Confirmation bias is strong in all of us. (sigh)