As a kid I always loved to play the game “Two Truths and a Lie.” I was very good at it to say the least. For any of you who don’t know how to play, the game goes like this…basically you state 3 facts about yourself. Two of them are true and one is a lie. Then your friends have to guess which ones are true and which ones are lies. It is a simple game, but can be super fun.
Either way, I was really good at it. I often fabricated these wonderful facts that confused many of my friends. The trick of the game: state facts that are believable and are worded in a clever way. It will get your opponents every time.
That being said, it is no secret that the skills can also be applied to generate an audience and attention on social media. It is not hard at all to fabricate stories, post them on social media, and fool the world. In this day in age, it is often hard to distinguish what is true and what is a lie on social media. Similar to the game, if one person writes a post or tweets a message that is believable, more often than not they will trick others into thinking it is true.
Take Jimmy Kimmel for instance. The man is a genius when it comes to fooling the social media world into believing newsworthy stories. His most recent prank involved the Sochi Olympics.
“Using the Twitter account of U.S. Olympic luger Kate Hansen, Kimmel’s team sent out a link to a YouTube video of what appeared to be a very large wolf wandering the halls outside Hansen’s room. All the tweet said was, “Wolf in my hall?!?”
Well, it wasn’t her hall at all, but a replica of the Olympic village constructed on the set of “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The wolf was a timberwolf mix named Rugby, hired in Southern California. And the story and video got covered extensively, including local newscasts, NBC’s “Today” Show and CNN.”
Watch and see the kinds of reactions the video got from the media:
It is clear to see that fabricating stories on social media is not at all hard. So how can we tell what is true and what is a lie?
I recently came across an interesting article that introduced a recent technological invention. It is called “Pheme” and it is a lie detector for social media.
“Pheme will scan tweets from news outlets, individuals, and automated ‘bots’ to determine the veracity of posts. Sources are evaluated in real time according to their authority in order to confirm or deny information and enable governments and other agencies to root out false information, especially in time of turmoil. Users will be able to view information about a rumor’s accuracy through a virtual dashboard.”
“The social media lie detector is now for Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to sort out online rumors into four categories: speculation, controversy, misinformation and disinformation.”
How cool is this?
It is sad that we now live in a world where we need to invent a machine that will distinguish between truths and lies on social media. But could you imagine how useful this will be for journalist and news reporters…or even everyday people? Will we be even more knowledgeable of the world around us because we know what is true and what is a lie?
On the flip side…is this an invasion of privacy? Will technology be able to invade our lives so well that there will be no ability for secrecy?
Sure it sounds like a good idea, but as always I fear we are giving technology yet another way to control our lives….and that is the honest truth!