Why Do So Many People Believe What They Read on Facebook?

Why Do So Many People Believe What They Read on Facebook?

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” I had always heard that it was originally said by P.T. Barnum. But thanks to the internet I found out that it has also be credited to Abraham Lincoln. But there is really no documentation that either of them actually said it.

Today, I think if I posted on Facebook a photo of Barrack Obama apparently saying the above quote when asked about his presidency it would get shared over and over again as the truth.

It wouldn’t matter to anyone who shared it that it may not be true. Or that someone simply made it up. It seems to a lot of people that seeing it on Facebook simply makes it true.

So many people seem to believe that President Obama has forbidden the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. Or that the NFL is going to ban playing the National Anthem. And there is no counting the number of outright lies being shared throughout Facebook about all political candidates.

And I don’t fully understand why so many people believe it all.

Facebook is not a news source. It is for social networking. In other words it’s for people to post about anything they want others to read.

What’s even worse is that no one even realizes that not only are these posts not true, many of them are click bait. Once you like or share it the original poster now has at the minimum your Facebook user name and your implicit consent to target you in the future. Worse, clicking on the photo may install a virus or other malware on your computer.

But none of that seems to matter to some people. They just keep sharing what to me at least seem to be just obvious lies.

You can’t even correct them by telling them that one of the fact checking sites says it’s false. Because the reply is usually that all of those sites are tools of the (take your pick) ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative. Again, it doesn’t matter if that’s true or not (and it isn’t). Someone posted it on Facebook.

So for those of you who may doubt the truth of what you read here I’ve listed some fact checking sites that you may want to keep handy:

www.snopes.com

www.factcheck.org

www.truthorfiction.com

www.politifact.com

www.hoaxslayer.com

Here’s even some good articles that have checked the fact checkers:

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-09-28/story/fact-check-so-whos-checking-fact-finders-we-are#

http://www.tbsbraintree.com/.../Fact%20Checking%20Resources.pdf

Or just Google “Fact check sites”.

As always, I will be posting a link to this article on Facebook. I’d be honored it you want to share it. I promise that if the link is directly tohttp://www.chicagonow.com/mostly-optimistic/2016/10/why-do-so-many-people-believe-what-they-read-on-facebook/ it won’t contain a virus or malware. And I don’t keep track of anyone’s Facebook ID to target you later.

Even if you subscribe to read more of my articles the only communication you’ll get will be simple emails that tell you when I’ve posted something new.

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