The Fakenews Problem Why do people believe them?

Lies or pseudo-information are not something new, they have existed practically since humanity learned to communicate, but what makes this phenomenon so relevant today is the speed with which they spread. Internet and social networks have been ideal means for the dispersal of calls fakenews or fake news.

To explain this phenomenon, Noam Chomsky, an American linguist and political scientist, raises the “post-truth”, defined by Oxford as “the phenomenon that occurs when“ objective facts have less influence in defining public opinion than those that appeal to emotion. and to personal beliefs ”; where “half truths” end up being believed not because they can be verified, but because of their constant repetition.

Chomsky further considers that as a society we have stopped believing in the official media because we have been taught to mistrust them; For example, we do not believe in the public health service because we think that the government is corrupt, we do not believe in the media because we think that they have been sold to companies or advertisers and although there is usually no concrete evidence of this (in some cases ), this does not matter because, as mentioned above, this type of content usually appeals to the irrational, to emotions more than to evidence or reason.

Curiously, this is not as recent as it seems, although we can relate it to the traditional media and the misinformation and manipulation of it by written media or television, we could also relate it to Francis Bacon’s theory of idols, which states that We believe more by what our aspects and emotions say than by what the understanding says, that is, we believe what we want to believe and not necessarily what is true.

Based on this we can say that an “idol” is not just a person per se, but can be any idea or thought that we choose to believe because it goes according to our ideals, makes us feel calmer or simply by mere ignorance.

Read more: Generational conflict in the use of digital technologies

In the end, each of us is responsible for what we want or decide to believe, the issue is to pay more attention to what we let enter our mind and feed our criteria so as not to continue contributing to the spread of misinformation.


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