David Livingstone Smith, a philosophy professor at the University of New England, Maine, believes online resources like Twitter and Facebook are actually helping define the truth more quickly than ever before. David, author of the book ‘Why We Lie, says:
“Children lie about brushing their teeth. Politicians stretch the truth in the heat of a campaign. Newspaper reporters have been caught lying, as have best-selling book authors; corporations; spouses and, of course, government officials.
And so have lots of people on Twitter.
It might seem that lies on social networks have become as common as the truth. Fabrications and sham pictures spread via Twitter during Hurricane Sandy and propaganda during the presidential campaign.
But is it a cause for worry? I don’t think so. Twitter, in its own way, has a self-correcting mechanism.
In the past, confirmation as well as disconfirmation took a long time to verify..
Now, just as information spreads quickly, inaccuracies are corrected with the same swiftness. There is also more accountability today, as a digital record can now be tied to the creator of falsehoods as they unfurl.
Where things have changed is in what we consider an egregious lie. In electronic media, lying has become less serious. We seem to have a more cavalier attitude to the truth than we did a long time ago..
There’s no longer a clear distinction between reality and fantasy because with social media, the distinction between news and entertainment has been so eroded, that this clear and important difference has been lost.
As a result, the truth-seekers online — often journalists — do what they have always done offline: use their ‘morally basic responsibility’ to ensure people are telling the truth.
Still, the question many people keep asking is, isn’t it Twitter’s responsibility to ensure that the things shared on it aren’t fabrications? In one simple answer: No.
Even if the company could monitor every post — close to a billion every two days — is it Twitter’s duty to decipher what is real and what is not? We don’t expect bookstores and libraries to verify every word on the nonfiction shelves..
Twitter could.. help people who share accidental inaccuracies in tweets by giving people them the ability to edit or mark a Twitter message as wrong. Currently, trying to note that an earlier message is incorrect is like announcing something in a restaurant and then coming back a few hours later, when there are all new patrons inside, to say your earlier statement was wrong. Ineffective, to say the least.”
Our brave new world
Thanks for the link via Twitter, Mr Denmore – https://twitter.com/MrDenmore