FAKE, FALSE NEWS, HOAX ONLINE…. whatever, … In ”normal circumstances” following my morning routine and workout I start new day with reading ‘news’ and every single time I am faced with a challenge to what extend millions of people do actually on daily basis are deciding whether to believe something they read online or not and simply skipped that new as a trash?
I do not believe we fall for false rather than fake news ’cause we’re dumb but often it’s a matter of letting the wrong impulses take over. We are living in an era when the average Croatian citizen spend many hours online -perhaps even more than 24h, no idea!? on a weekly basis whereby always juggling inboxes and feeds and alerts. Furthermore, whatever political convictions lead us to lazy thinking. The bottom line is about our innate desire for an easy answer.
Hence, instead of having a clarity and working not harder but rather smarter people are often trying to ”outsmart their life” in other words, when it comes to social networks, they assume that the higher something appears for an example in Google search, the piece of info they search for is more reliable. In that respect we completely ignore the fact that these same Google’s or whatever browser’ algorithms are surfacing content based on keywords, not truth.
Thus, if you ask info about using soda to cure cancer, the tool will ‘dutifully’ find pages for you asserting that they work. Hey guys, it’s only a search engine. Where does this thinking take me? To our brain and how do we use this powerful machine and engine.
We’re also inclined to trust visuals, whereby many photos are embellished and overstated .On Twit, people use the size of others’ followings as a proxy for reliability, yet millions of followers have been paid for while there is an est. of something like 10% of “users” that may be bots. Basically people of all ages were inclined to evaluate sources based on features like the site’s URL and graphic design, things that are easy to manipulate.
So, why do people love spreading false stories? Because they play on our emotions. People thrive on novelty, that attracts human attention, Hence, when the information is ‘new or a breaking news’ it is also ‘more valuable’ also from a social perspective . In other words, ”new information” are spread because we get excited about it, and we think it makes us look smart. Furthermore, when we read a story or watch a video that reinforces our own strong emotions, we’re often motivated to share that video through social media or other channels. The more people share, the more believable the story becomes. The result is an environment where more and more people are striving to manipulate your emotions.
Yes, and so what ? What can I do about it ? What can I do to make sure I am not contributing to an ”issue”, whatever it is? Well, you can work more on your emotional intelligence (EQ) as your unique ability to understand and manage your emotions and the emotions of others unless you don’t mind to be led by others. That’s ok and legitimate too. Social media and false news are about understanding set of complex vulnerabilities notably from the our cognitive and social aspects.
Use Your Brain – for a change!