I want to start a movement.
Critical thinkers have long been aware of all the fake news and outright lies being spread on social media and elsewhere in support of just about any argument under the sun.
More recently, it's become a more mainstream news item and people, including major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are looking for ways to combat the phenomenon.
This is how I'm trying to do my part.
I'm starting with the premise that people don't want to be lied to and that they don't want to spread lies. In light of the facts behind how this became an issue in the first place, you might think this premise is ridiculous but I don't think it is. I just don't think people realize how much they're being lied to and how much of what they think they know is the direct result of that.
So my plan is to create an easy way of pointing them out with the hope that once people are aware of just how much this is happening, they'll realize how important it is to be critical of everything they're told and will learn some very basic research skills to try to validate things before they propagate them.
Here's how it will work.
I'm going to create a meme that you will post whenever you see an obvious and verifiable untruth. The meme will simply say:
DID YOU LIE OR WERE YOU LIED TO?
People will then respond to that meme with a few canned choices. These will be:
I LIED. YOU CAUGHT ME.
Some people ARE unashamed liars. If you encounter this sort of person, there's nothing further to be done other than to question their moral character. If someone is known to be a liar, then nothing they say is of any argumentative value and there's no point in furthering a discussion with them.
I WAS LIED TO. THIS IS WHO LIED TO ME.
I expect most people aren't willingly liars. If they realize they lied, hopefully they'll take some conviction in calling out their source so both they and you can know not to ever rely on that source again.
I WAS MISTAKEN. I HAVE NOW SEEN THE LIGHT. HERE IS THE TRUTH.
Sometimes people just make mistakes. I have a feeling this is going to be a very popular option because people don't like to be wrong and like to make excuses as to why the lie shouldn't impact your opinion of their moral character. Hopefully after a few of these, people will learn how easy it is to verify facts before they post them and will make that minimal effort in the future. Imploring people to post the truth may even open them up to opposing viewpoints and change their world view. One can hope, right?
If someone refuses to post the truth of the matter because it opposes whatever argument they're trying to make, then the idea of them having been mistaken can be considered a lie in itself. In this case, they'd actually lied but just don't have the moral character to admit it.
Note that if people find themselves posting this one a lot, I would hope they realize that it will make them appear to be stupid. Everyone makes mistakes now and then but if you're constantly making these mistakes in your postings, it's proving that you're either stupid or very gullible or both. Nobody wants to look stupid and the solution is to verify stuff before you repeat it.
I DIDN'T LIE. HERE IS THE EVIDENCE.
Before posting the meme in the first place, you're supposed verify that what they said was demonstrably untrue. There's nothing wrong with healthy debate and with giving opinions. Opinions aren't lies. If you call someone out as a liar and they prove you wrong, then you should suck it up and post one of these responses yourself in defense or apology for your initial finger-pointing.
It's that simple.
Before I set up the graphics and try to get this thing started, I'll open it here for comments. My social media reach is rather limited but you never know. Maybe it'll take off and maybe something good will come of it.
If you have ideas for additional appropriate responses, please explain them as well so I have as complete a set as could be expected when I get it started.
One thought on “Did You Lie Or Were You Lied To?”
Counter-argument — the Backfire Effect, cited here:
and discussed here:
As far as I'm concerned, it's an extension of the Confirmation Bias effect — one's worldviews progressively continue to shape what one sees as "true" vs. what one perceives as "false".
The fact of the matter is that most people don't seem to give much of a damn whether or not what they believe is verifiable, they actively seek out information which caters to their belief systems (whether or not it's accurate information seems to be immaterial).
That said, yes, there's a great deal of misinformation out there (even moreso prevalent since the rise of the internet) and I'm down with calling people out for sources.