The Cesspool Effect

Herself was browsing around Farcebook the other evening.

"Good Grief!" says she [or words to that effect] "Take a look at this!"

I took a look and this is what I saw –

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Herself has an electrofag which she uses quite a lot and this alarmed her to the point where she looked even more worried than usual.

I followed the link and it led to a site called Spirit Science and Metaphysics, which in turn cited Organic Health.  Both site names rang my internal alarm bells and when I read the content my worst fears were confirmed.

Both these sites had written their bilge laden nonsense on foot of the infamous Guardian article which has been widely and rightly discredited as a steaming pile of elephant dung.

I calmed Herself down and explained why it was junk science, but unfortunately I haven't the luxury of doing that with everyone who saw that Farcebook rubbish.  And this is where the problem lies.

People on Farcebook love to put up snappy items which are designed to startle.  They then ask people to pass them on so that ultimately they spread like wildfire.  Readers tend not to go beyond the snappy headline [“10x More Cancer Causing Ingredients?  Wow!  I must pass this on.”] and few read the actual article.  Those that do read the article are taken in by the "something must be done" breathless reporting and almost none go any further.  If they had even gone as far as the comments in the "Spirit Science" site they would have seen some enlightening comments which soundly demolish the article as alarmist and junk.

Farcebook is rife with what I call the Cesspool Effect.  This is where the shite floats to the top and is the only thing visible to the public.  The alarming and the startling grab the attention and get passed around.  The dull truth gets ignored and sinks without trace.  It has reached the stage where I don't take anything at face value from Farcebook.  If it might have some interest, I immediately research it and 99.999999% of the time, it's crap.  Unfortunately the Farcebook generation has the opposite reaction – if it's on Farcebook, it's true.

Herself is back happily using her electrofag, but how many others have been taken in and now believe electrofags are ten times worse than cigarettes?

Farcebook is dangerous.

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Comments

The Cesspool Effect — 7 Comments

    • Welcome Topgold! The Internet is akin to the entire population getting their entire reading material from just one newspaper without realising that that newspaper has no editorial staff or researchers.  Headlines like "Study Finds That Drinking Milk Will Cause Your Head To Explode" are guaranteed tens of thousands of views, with most readers religiously believing such nonsense.

  1. Facebook, twitter, media – the lot of them! Did you see that in the latest statistics from Smoking in England that the majority of smokers now believe ecigs are worse than cigarettes?

    • "Smoking in England" is of course funded by the DoH and CRUK so I would treat their statistics with a slight touch of caution.  However there is no doubt that the obfuscations, distortions and downright lies put out by the Anti-Smokers are doing enormous damage to the e-cig industry.  But I don't have to tell you that!  😉
       

  2. Thank you for another great ramble Irish Grandad. It seems as if the whole world has stopped using reason when it comes to passing these piles of misinformation around. Shoddy work by the press is bad, but social media passing it around is far worse. It's like an infectious disease that transfers stupidity by sight. When my friends post them, I can at least comment with links to actual and valid scientific studies but unfortunately that only helps a few people at a time.

    • Thank you and welcome!  Unfortunately there is little can be done about posting rubbish on the Interweb [I know – I do it here all the time!].  Maybe the best tctic is to dream up alarming headlines and post them on Farcebook ourselves?  😈 

  3. 'Twas ever thus, GD. The anti-smoking lobby have relied on the fact that they can issue a press release which is demonstrably risible twaddle safe in the knowledge that the headline will have been made. It matters not that the 'fact' is subsequently disproved – the headline is what people will take with them, and through repetition will become fact. It's an old propaganda trick that was used with great success by Goebbels.

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Joseph Goebbels – Hitler's Propaganda Minister

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