What's Real Anymore?
With all this fake news, can you ever be sure that what you read is the truth?
Dear Vocal Readers,
Oh, the truth, it's something that can be hard to find in today's society. With the whirlwind of fake news we see every day, how can we even tell what is real anymore?
In my junior year of high school, I had my first eye-opening experience about the lies we so easily believe. Having been in study hall with no work to catch up on, I made plans with my friend to go visit her class and chill with her. The class was "Theory of Knowledge," and the teacher was amazing, so he thankfully let me sit in and watch the presentations being done that day.
Being in that class as well, but on a different day, I was already aware of the presentations going on. I had done one myself with two friends, but can barely remember what we learned. But his, now his I remember clearly. There are a handful of people you will meet in your life that can just grab your attention and amaze you with whatever they have to say. This guy was one of those people. Despite being extremely racist and sexist, he delivered one hell of a presentation.
He started off his presentation by telling us some historical facts. He was a known history buff and no one doubted any of his knowledge on the topic. I cannot recall the specific information he told us, but I recall they had been some very interesting facts. For a boring old presentation, he ended up making it interesting. Little did we know, it would only become more interesting.
He simply tells us that everything we were just shown had been false. His facts were in truth lies, yet we all believed him. I looked around, dumbfounded, and found some other expressions that mirrored my own. He had the whole room feeling like fools, and he had done it with ease. Had he never told us his information was false, we all would have walked out of that class believing we just learned some interesting historical facts. It opened my eyes to how easily we believe the words of others and just how easily we can be manipulated.
Upon seeing his presentation I decided to learn more about fake information being relayed to our society. What I found was disturbing, but what was really scary was the fact that I don't even know if the information I discovered was fake or not. I had found a statistic stating that 34 percent of all news stories we see are completely fake. I expected that the internet would be full of lies, but to find out they were even on our news channels was shocking.
Another statistic had stated that a whopping 68 percent of all web articles were either entirely false or had some sort of lie within them. This means that for those who rely on the internet for their news are likely reading falsities. If you fall under this category then don't worry, there are many steps you can take to ensure you are reading true stories.
In a 2017 experiment led by scientist Malcolm Brown, a group of people were subjected to fake news stories. This group was told that they were all receiving true facts and stories—when in actuality they were not. With the group believing these stories to be true, they then discussed the issues with one another. After the discussion, they were sent home, with everyone in the group living in the same town. The true part of the experiment came a month later. Scientists went around to random houses in this town and asked if anyone had heard about the stories the group was told. Since it was a small town, word got around quickly and 87 percent of the houses visited had heard of the stories and could give specific details about them.
The experiment was designed to see just how quickly and how much fake news could be spread around. The group simply believed the stories were true, so they spread them around their town. In one month, a majority of the town had heard these fake stories and believed them as well. Malcolm Blown got the results he had been expecting, proving just how fast false stories can spread without our knowledge.
Unfortunately in today's society, we can never be 100 percent sure that the information we are being fed is accurate. We need to take matters into our own hands and make sure that we are receiving our news from credible sources, and we must never forget to question things. If we simply accept everything as fact, we can never truly be sure they are accurate. So stay smart, research, and know what is really going on in our world.
Sincerely from my paranoid mind,
(Oh, and by the way, every single one of my statistics was fake. I made the numbers up randomly within a few seconds and made up my own facts. The experiment was also a lie I came up with on the spot. I also "messed up" on the scientist's name who was leading the experiment. I changed it from Brown to Blown as a hint that something was off. Were you clever enough not to fall for my trap? Just remember, everyone, you can't always take a stranger's word for truth.)