Bullshit will prevail; plan accordingly
1 min read

Bullshit will prevail; plan accordingly

Spotting fake/manipulative news isn't hard if you keep two points in mind.
Chains, Dublin jail, 2009

I'm seeing pre-election worries about spotting fake/manipulative news. It's not hard if you keep two points in mind:

  • The truth is expensive; lies are cheap. In the attention economy, lies (accidental, partial, or pants-on-fire) will always outnumber the truth.
  • Social platforms and media make money whether you consume truth or lies.

That means platforms will never self-police effectively.

It means media will never act with complete integrity or, if that's too insulting, then with the perfect information necessary for 100% factual reporting.

And it means, judged by volume alone, bullshit will always prevail.

None of that means we shouldn't try. We just shouldn't expect others to do it for us.

Figuring out what's real -- what is true to one's own reality -- is one of the most individual responsibilities anyone has. It can't be delegated to fact-checkers, media-bias meme charts or (and this one is seductive) the wisdom of the crowd.