“What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?”
Just today I’ve seen two blatantly fake and misleading news stories circulating my Facebook bubbles. As usual, they gain momentum on the fringes (political extremes) and become more widespread by grabbing the attention of any fish that’ll bite and get hooked. Let it go – it ain’t even food!
The problem highlighted by this article has two ferocious prongs:
> On one end, we have the “fake news” itself and all the misled steps that can follow it. I’ll let that speak for itself.
> On the other end, we have the potential for reasonable people to start casting broad and blind blankets of doubt over any information they encounter – perhaps rightfully so!
While the latter can seem safer at first, consider how disturbed the lives of extreme conspiracy theorists are by the single behavior of excessive skepticism. If you cannot have confidence in any data, you are left only to your biases or data-less decisions and conclusions. Skepticism is a key part of science, but science progresses with skepticism *AND* increased confidence through verification.
Verification is quite important then. How do we verify information we receive, from the news, from the Internet, from your own senses? Do we verify some things more than others? Do we do the meta- level task of considering _how much_ verification is needed for certain information?
For that matter, how can you verify that anything in this post has any basis in reality? And before we even go there, … is this food? Bon voyage.