I was responding to a meme on Facebook about 11 things Bill Gates supposedly told a high school gathering. Part of the meme just didn't jibe with what I expect from Bill Gates, so I went looking into it and found that, according to David Mikkelson of Snopes.com, the first 10 are from Ann Landers with the 11th about being nice to geeks tacked on to the end.
In my response, I mentioned that I am doing my part in the battle against the internet's blurry truth. I wondered if anyone else was using that phrase, so I, of course, Googled it.
Here are some of the results I got:
How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth
The NY Times (Farhad Manjoo) says "the internet is distorting our collective grasp on the truth"
Web of lies: Is the internet making a world without truth?
The New Scientist (Chris Baraniuk) says "information and misinformation are increasingly hard to distinguish online – and none of us are immune."
Snopes.com has been around since 1994, long before Facebook launched, so obviously the issue we're having is not new. It's just that Facebook is one of the, if not THE, fastest ways of spreading information, regardless of it's veracity.
I used to fall for this stuff ALL THE TIME! It's particularly easy to fall for fake news or misleading memes when they seem to support your own pre-existing beliefs such "Hillary is evil!" or "Dubya is an idiot.".
I started to see enough that went to the extreme that I thought "That person can't be THAT stupid..." and started checking just about everything at Snopes, hoax-slayer.com, and other sites.
My "Friends" on FB might start to think I'm a jerk or that I consider myself some kind of intellectual superior. No, I'm just a regular guy that got tired of being fooled and who really wants his friends to recognize truth for truth and lie for lie!