Americans are super-spreaders of COVID-19 misinformation

Americans are super-spreaders of COVID-19 misinformation


Social media is a super spreader of stupidity. 🥴


The people around me haven't gotten any stupider, they've just gotten MUCH more confident in their stupidity.


It's honestly unfortunate. On the one hand social media gives a voice to a lot of under represented voices and we've had many great stories come into light thanks to that, but at the same time it also gives a voice to every damn idiot and honestly sometimes mentally ill people who really shouldn't have a megaphone. There is no winning here.


I don’t even know social media really gives a voice to under represented people. I’m not convinced it does. I think social media enhances tribalism and creates echo chambers, not broaden or diversify people’s understanding and correct incorrect beliefs.


I would argue that social media itself doesn’t do this, it’s the lack of laws governing what information can be collected and stored about a person which throws people down these hyper effective rabbit hole echo chambers so they will stay online longer and see more adds and generate more revenue for their platform. The internet used to be like a public library, now it is effectively a tool for whoever has paid to optimize their search placements to be the most viewed content for most browsers.


> honestly sometimes mentally ill people who really shouldn't have a megaphone. This is the case in /r/Minnesota right now as their top moderator also mods /r/nonewnormal. It's a really bad situation all around.


I honestly believe that this is a much larger problem than the stupidity. There are genuine sociopaths who enjoy spreading misinformation, enjoy trolling and engaging in discussions in bad faith, who utilize the platforms in a completely morally bankrupt way as a tool to enrich themselves and force their viewpoints. The stupid people arent the problem, it's the people who weaponize the stupid people that are the issue. In the worst case, like the former US president, they are both stupid and the weaponizer.


> I honestly believe that this is a much larger problem than the stupidity. > > There are genuine sociopaths who enjoy spreading misinformation, enjoy trolling and engaging in discussions in bad faith, who utilize the platforms in a completely morally bankrupt way as a tool to enrich themselves and force their viewpoints. I think a large part of this is sad, lonely people finally having a tool to utilize to bring other people down. Yes, there are certainly bad actors who are spreading misinformation for profit and political goals, but I think there are also a lot of people that just want to lash out and spread hate and division. I think we could cut down on a lot of the problems with social media and the internet by dealing with the underlying issues that are making so many people sad and lonely to begin with.


Oh you mean like paying people livable wages, ensuring they get a proper education, have the resources to be successful in a changing economy and don't face bankruptcy if they have an unforeseen medical issue?


The stupidity is a symptom. The root issue on that particular topic is mostly our failed education system and the Capitalist motivations that drive it. Edit: Capitalist motivations as well as using higher education as a form of gatekeeping and enforcing class ranks.


Reddit mods are the bottom of the barrel as far as people.


The trouble is that very few normal people want to do that shit. It's a thankless job for someone with good intentions.


There are also state actors, and massive marketing and political propaganda firms amplifying the stupid with competing misinformation, analytics, brigading and wholesale psychological warfare. I believe they are the main reason the stupid has grown so deafening in the last ~5 years. There was a blatant shift on Reddit around 2015-16, different to the discourse in any of the preceding years. It was coordinated, and concertedly targeted at sewing division. Reddit, and its user base, were completely unprepared.


The people you would never invite to a gathering all have internet connection now


It’s the confidence, because a google search will return some article saying exactly what they hope to find, and then there are comments where people are like, “yeah! Hospitals just make you sicker” or simply reading a headline on a meme or article in a post on Reddit and interrupting how they want too. Family members send me the craziest articles from absurd sources. How ami suppose to believe this!? How do you believe this!


That definitely hasn't been my experience. I have plenty of previously normal family and friends who have jumped headfirst into insane conspiracy theories and disinformation in the last 4 years. I have like 10 family members who used to champion vaccines and are now fully antivax.


Part of that has to do with, when a person engages with information on social media or internet news platforms, the person feels more in control of their consumption, whether they are or not (YT algos etc.) This leads people that are possibly already distrustful of major institutions such as MSM, the medical and tech communities, etc. to feel as though they are privy to knowledge that the general population is unaware of. They believe they have found hidden truths, or even that their superior intelligence is responsible for what led them to these gems. Which ends up being even more sad, because informational rabbit holes are ego feeding propositions. It's also why prying people away from disinformation gets that much harder, as there is a great emotional and egotistical identification with these "alternative" positions that they hold. It's all a really big mess that I haven't the slightest clue as to how to answer.


Vaccine passports are like yellow badges nazi used! I mean, I send my kids to school and they have vaccine requirements. And I work at a hospital, where they require to be be fully vaccinated. But requiring a vaccine to travel in a global pandemic is = a holocaust. /s


>The people around me haven't gotten any stupider, they've just gotten MUCH more confident in their stupidity. Everyone reading this think he's talking about the other guy.


Yes, but the objective nature of truth says that, for example, the person claiming that COVID isn't real is a proud idiot and the person who believes COVID is real is not an idiot. It's a shame that fact and opinion have become so smeared together in our society today.


Part of being less-than-stupid is being able to recognize when one is wrong, and learn from it. That's the opposite of what OP said. Claiming that everyone thinks the same cynical way you do isn't particularly helpful and is a bit more small-minded than the pithy comment that Reddit thinks it is.


Agreed but it’s the people that use it


Reddit is social media


The statement still stands! 🙌


We have two pandemics going on at the same time: COVID-19 and stupidity.


There thing is, the stupid people think that everyone else is stupid.




Empty barrels make the most noise


Just an amazing quote that I've never heard.


In Indonesian we have an exact same quote. *Tong kosong nyaring bunyinya* which literally translates to what he said. Never heard it in English either before so he might be translating it from Indonesian or other languages I don't know.


We have the same in Denmark "Tomme tønder buldrer mest". Which can be translated to "Empty barrels rumble most".


I like it this way with the rumble haha


“The empty can rattles the most” is the one I’ve always heard.


I have heard it since I was a kid and have only heard it in English


*The Houston Astros have entered the chat*


Shit, I immediately thought no way, chambered rounds are way louder then realized I Americaned it up by thinking of *gun* barrels, not regular barrels.


That's a pretty impressive amount of 'Murica, right there! (I say as an American).


Shocking to literally no one


As a Brazilian i though that was our spot.


You can't have two #1s... that would be an 11.


*Javascript has entered the chat*


Excel wants to remind you that 11 is less than 2 when sorting as a string for no good reason.


That's true for everything when considering strings. AA is less than B always. So 11 is less than 2.


arr.sort() would like to have a word.


lol, every time I see something like this I can't stop wondering if people understands the javascript joke, so I try to explain telling them, coding in javascript is like trying to cross the street, you look to the left, to the right and when you think it's safe and start crossing, a flying submarine hits you... that's javascript in a nutshell


I remember Brazil got a number 1 before. I think Germany got 7 though.


American education system represent! Checkmate, atheists! EDIT: JFC! It was a joke based on 1 and 1 making 11. Chill out folks. It was low hanging fruit y’all are taking too seriously. Thought the checkmate part would have indicated it was a tongue in cheek response.


I read this in a strong Rick voice.


I read it in a zapp brannigan voice




With some sass on *represent*


Prepare to continue the epic struggle between good and neutral!


You are the off duty cop guys.




It is important to remember that the US never really lost manufacturing, we just lost manufacturing *jobs.* the value of goods manufactured in the US has been on an upward trend over any long term trend line you want to use (obviously it went down last year and in other recessions, but then goes back up). But when you have 1500 factory workers, and replace them with 500 robots and 80 robot nursemaids... manufacturing employment goes down. America is going to be overtaken by China (if they keep things running dispite the real estate silliness) because they understand the value of a middle class. While they are growing the middle class, we won't raise the minimum wage. Jimmy Carter was the last president where people could say "my kids will have a better life than I had," because Reagan set in motion the changes that have led to no real wage growth since his presidency. The value of goods and services produced per worker has tripled in that time, but wages didn't budge, instead the rich got all those gains. A recipe for stagnation, which is what we are seeing. If you look at purchasing power rather than "GDP" the US is behind China. Short of a massive wealth transfer from the rich to the Middle class, China already won, the US just doesn't know it yet.




Good point. What *are* the ramifications of that policy?


I believe we've already seen many ramifications of the policy, afterall it was in place for a good while. But for one people only wanted male children if they were only allowed to have one. Or more accurately, the pressures of society, the desire for legacy, all rested on your single heir. I think there are many instances of infanticide, of smuggling female and second children off in the countryside to be hidden, inaccurate census information. An unbalanced gender ratio in the country. Heard lots of things over the years.


Female infanticide is a big one, creating a huge difference in the numbers of men and women.


Old people are more of a tax burden than tax generator. Many systems we have in place pretty much REQUIRE then population to grow in order to function (things like medicare or social security). It's part of why we encourage immigration so much, because it artificially increases the population. China's going to be dealing with this problem hard in 20ish years.


Facebook a megaphone and tool of foreign intelligence services that dwarfs other social media companies. Stop using it people. It’s literally killing people and making others crazier than they were before.


Ok but .. Reddit is now Facebook. What do you think is happening there , that can’t happen here?


posting history and account age are far more transparent on Reddit, for one thing. I know your account is only 3 months old and I can see everything you've posted across this whole site for those 3 months.


If people had the critical skills to recognize how these factors affect credibility on reddit, they'd also recognize that a random post on Facebook has by default no credibility. Part of the problem is that people lack critical media skills.


Do you have any suggestions for increasing someone’s critical media skills? My Mom has fallen victim to the Facebook algorithms. I’m trying to think of ways to bring her back. It’s futile to argue against the nonsense misinformation, so I’m trying to think of ways to explain to her how she is being manipulated


I wish I could say something to help, as I have 2 parents like this (Father, and Father-in-law). Unfortunately all I can do is advise caution. I tried to talk my Dad about it and now he won't talk to me, instead calling me the kind of hateful names you'd read in a Facebook comment section. I will however say that my Father-in-law has gotten better recently, but only after HIS dad died of Covid, after refusing to wear a mask and denying it existed. Very sad that it happened but I don't think anything else would have convinced him it's even real. Good Luck, and approach with caution.


> Father-in-law has gotten better recently, but only after HIS dad died of Covid This is a common theme among the people that fall into the misinformation trap that is largely spread by modern *American* conservatism. It's why they will rail against social welfare programs and progressive ideas like universal healthcare, but have no problem creating a go-fund-me after being hit with large medical bills or donating to one for someone they know.


Ah, the "fuck you I got mine" attitude republicans seems to perpetuate. "it only matters if it hurts me"


It's more that they're the kind to be hard wired into only caring about their in-tribe. The close circle of people we all usually care about. It's well documented that you can't really care for people a certain amount removed from you and they just kind of take that a bit more extremely. Hard to have empathy for those in the larger "tribe" of society when their entire culture and upbringing forces them to look more inwards at the smaller blood tribe


You know interestingly I read a tumblr theory of all things from someone who said the reason Americans don’t trust universal healthcare is because they really think cancer treatment costs millions, birth labor costs tens of thousands, and a broken bone costs thousands. They don’t know/understand that their insurance/healthcare system is robbing them, and that’s why they think they’ll lose so much money from their paychecks. It just hit me hard to realize that’s probably a large reason.


Our healthcare system is absolutely broken and lacks transparency, which leads to crazy pricing. The closest model we have to an actual free market for healthcare is veterinary care. I have three cats and a dog, so I am pretty price conscious. I have only ever received absolute transparency when it comes to the cost of their healthcare and medications. People do not get that dignity in this country.


I teach this to my middle school students. There are activities and examples she can work through. It's really useful. [https://cor.stanford.edu/curriculum/collections/teaching-lateral-reading/](https://cor.stanford.edu/curriculum/collections/teaching-lateral-reading/)


Make her watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix.


Better yet, have them watch the Tedtalk on how Facebook influenced Brexit. That lady does a very good job explaining the situation, and it being on a educational platform helps to show it's legitimacy.




What reddit lacks in looking into a source, it makes up for in cynicism and lack of faith in humanity. Or maybe that's just my experience over the last decade here.


It’s changing though. As the site becomes more and more popular and more of the general public show up. I know it’s always been trendy for Redditors to shit on Reddit, but it’s been noticeably different the last few years. I actively unsubscribe when subs hit a critical mass, but more people on Reddit is not good for what made Reddit great. If you’ve been here that long, I’m sure you’ve seen some of your favorite subs change for the worse. Because I am cynical, it hasn’t impacted me all that much, but it’s definitely gotten harder. I don’t believe anything I read online without skepticism, and Reddit was always very skeptical. It was easier to find nuanced discussions here, and people called out others for reposting/shilling/botting/whatever. Yeah, there were echo chambers, but now it feels like the whole site is one big echo chamber wherever you go. I’m sure part of it has to do with politics and the pandemic, but I’m not sure it’ll get much better before it gets worse/continues on the downward spiral.


Agreed. I can't speak for others, but I know when I'm logged out or on a new computer and go to reddit it seems like an entirely different site. Lots of anger in a ton of subs that are on the front page. Anger is one of the best engagement tools there is, so you see an increase of PublicFreakout, murderedByWords, type subs that are just anger traps. Biggest problem with reddit is that "the plural of anecdote is not data", so there are a ton of strawman arguments that make it very hard to have a nuanced discussion. Not that that's ever been easy on the internet, but at least with Reddit back in the day you weren't balkanized into communities based on how you feel about scissor issues. If anyone doesn't have a reddit account yet, make yourself one and get rid of all the clickbait/anger-porn subs or you'll just get sucked into the algorithm. Use reddit to learn and laugh, and not to get upset. If you want to get upset, do it in the real world and help people you think need to be helped.


Yeah, I’m subscribed to a lot of subs, but the algorithm keeps giving me the 2-3 angry political ones that I’m subscribed to all the time. I may have to just unsubscribe from them.


Same here. I naively thought at one point in time that i could ask questions on r/politics and get some genuine interaction but it was mostly people just saying all the same thing and aggresively shutting down any other conversation. Found it disappointing to see people treating one another so poorly by default. Those types of subs seem to default to presuming the worst intentions from users that do not share the same approved viewpoints. People are fucking weird on the internet.


I’m old enough to have seen this cycle happen a lot — including on old-school BBS’es, Usenet, IRC, and every new platform since. After a certain tipping point, the nature of interactions changes. Happens in real life too — that bar’s so crowded nobody goes there anymore — so I’ve found it healthier to accept it as part of the lifecycle of things instead of fighting against it.


A couple of years ago, someone wrote an essay called [The 1% Theory](https://fanlore.org/wiki/Fandoms_have_1%25_Toxic_Fans_Theory). While the original subject of the theory was fandoms, I think the theory is generally applicable. The gist of it is that 1% of any fandom is toxic, or, as the author put it, "a pure, unsalvageable tire fire." Too, assholes are a lot more noticeable in their interactions than "normal" people. People have noticed over the years that the bigger a fandom gets, the more toxic it gets. The 1% theory is an attempt to explain this, by pointing out that, when a fandom is small, say 100 people, the toxic 1% is a single person. It's easy to ignore them, to mute them, to delete their posts, etc. But as the fandom gets larger, so does the number in that 1%. When the fandom reaches, say 1,000,000 people, that means a total of 10,000 assholes causing trouble. That's a lot harder to police or ignore. Now apply that theory to a sub-reddit. One with only a few thousand active users will only have a few trouble makers, and a small team of mods can keep them in check without too much effort. The bigger subreddits have millions of subscribers; /r/politics, for example, has 7.5 million. If the theory holds true, that implies that 75,000 of them are trouble making assholes. /r/politics has 70 mods, and if I understand the situation correctly, modding that sub is basically a full time commitment from a lot of them. In the before times, in the long long ago, an asshole's impact on the world was limited by geography. They could make trouble in their town or city, and in their social groups, but that was in. Facebook, reddit, and other online platforms, though, has given every asshole in the world a platform that lets their dickish behavior have global reach.


I'm a policing and crime prevention researcher/professor, so preventing unwanted behavior is my profession. The "few people/places cause most of the problems" idea is broadly applicable. It's been referred to as the "iron law of troublesome places" by [some authors](https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John-Eck/publication/230384845_Criminology_of_the_unpopular/links/5d14d9eb458515c11cfd6b9f/Criminology-of-the-unpopular.pdf) in the subfield of crime and place. Edit: link updated


Could not agree more with you. Reddit is now mostly propaganda or advertising of one kind or another.


Completely agree. Reddit was in its prime like 7 years ago. I mainly only go on smaller subreddits now. The comments on front page posts are usually pretty stupid.


It's a bit like giving a teen an ungoverned Ferrari. Too much tool for the amount of skill of the user.


Yep. These social media places are tools that are useful when used correctly. Facebook is fantastic at keeping in touch with people I rarely see in person due to life changes over time. I'm a quick message away from long-distance friends and family without worrying I lost a phone number or their contact info changed. It's great to plan events with people, though I haven't done that lately due to the pandemic. Any news or posts you see there should all be assumed to be opinion pieces. Don't assume it's true until you either verify the link/opinion someone posted or do your own research on it. Just because I love my uncle and think he's a funny, outstanding guy, doesn't mean when he posts about 5G planted in a vaccine I should just 100% accept it. I should research it either way. You can certainly get real news for FB and the like, but just take everything as a grain of salt and double check elsewhere.


Remember the Internet before Facebook when naive friends and relatives would forward emails about impending doom? Some of us would groan and delete the email, while others would believe it and forward it again without any critical thought. They didn't need an algorithm to be duped then, and they don't now (though the algorithm intensifies the effect). These are gullible people.


They also lack the ability to care about spending the time. When you scroll through hundreds of posts on the fly, you're not slowing down to check the credibility of each poster. I actually don't doubt that some people could actually figure it out, but it requires extra checking when all you wanted to do was "See some memez"


> and I can see everything you've posted across this whole site for those 3 months. On that one account, yes. But how do you know that's not just my alt? ... It's not, I don't have an alt (or do I?) But you couldn't know. And someone can easily pop out multiple other accounts to look like different people to hide their history from one to alter peoples perception of them.




Unfortunately people develop accounts now for this kind of use. I could post for 5 years on several accounts at once and suddenly there would be a chorus of opinions on a subject that all came from one person (multiply this by teams controlled by a central organization).


Bitch now do me


You're white with a Mexican gf and you play video games. Mostly harmless, sometimes amusing. Do me do me!! I fucking love this game!


Based on the subs you're active in and reading like 2-3 comments, you're a vegan, cross-stitching UKer who I think might be older than 30 You're right this is kind of fun AF.


You live in New York City and are probably mid 20s. You recently got your degree in a technology field and work in IT or programming and in your off time you play video games and watch football. Now someone do me.


Central Texan parent who is a CAR monkey for town planning, you seem well informed on a number of subjects which you talk about in a placid manner. Very little bitching, mostly advisory. You are a good contributor.


You live in the UK and you go back and forth with your significant other about veganism but you agree on eating lentils, leaving mushrooms in the sun to increase their vitamin content, and growing vegetables in containers. Took me 4 minutes.


People usually don't even read the articles before posting comments. Why do you think anyone but a handfull of people are going to look at the account age and everything they've posted?


Woke up to trolling comments against me today, checked the profile, they stopped posting stuff 3 years ago and all of a sudden started making super right-wing troll comments a few months ago. Hmmmmmmm.


Sure, but then you have the people who have millions of karma, post every day for years, but are still pushing propagandist talking points disguised as news articles, etc, which people eat up. Social media in general is used to manufacture opinion and consent. Reddit included.


Wrong. I was in college when it launched. I know plenty of people that joined in 2004 who became nutbags. What sets Reddit apart to some degree is the down vote button. It's the most crucial tool on any social network.


Except it's already been broken. There's frequently highly voted posts that are outright wrong or twisting information but get sent up because the majority of people have a "upvote because title, no reading necessary" mentality here.




And the opposite is also true. Something being popular doesn't make it correct, it just means it is a statement people agree with whether right or not.


That doesn't help. People just congregate into echo chambers in the form of their own subreddits.


What so many people just don't seem to understand is, it's not about convincing people that already believe insane things to renounce them. They're a lost cause. It's about stopping them from spreading their ideas in more mainstream areas. Crazy people having their own spaces to do crazy person stuff is nothing new. The internet hasn't significantly changed that. What the internet *has* changed is the ability for crazy people to find new converts in more public settings.


It’s happening here but Facebook is literally designed to put drama and lies in your face. I can scroll through tons of subreddits and never have to hear about microchip vaccines, tyranny, flat earth, racism, xenophobia from my grandma etc. Reddit will get there but Facebook is obviously the first thing we have to get rid of.


Facebook is full of a bunch of idiots mostly talking about themselves. Reddit, on the other hand is full of a bunch of idiots mostly talking about whatever subreddit they are in. It's a subtle difference.


It’s the same. Reddit won’t like to admit it, and there are *some* differences, but it has the same problems as Facebook.


The issue is (for a number of people I've talked to) that they bundle a number of well made free tools in with the rest of the curated manufactured social media experience. For example, the main reason I use it nowadays is for their Groups function which allows me to corral about 150 people together for a weekend virtual function for theatre. Can I manage that group another way? Sure, but it'd be ten times harder to do so. What people need to realize is that FB *is* used for more than spreading political disinformation, and some people ACTUALLY don't use it the same way as most folks and a critical piece of some groups' infrastructure would be lost if it disappeared. I'm more for breaking up their monopoly and splitting Groups off so they can be managed on their own. I agree that FB has gone too far with manipulating its users and helps spread disinformation, yet no one seems to want to push the fact that it's also a two way street: you have to use social media RESPONSIBLY lest it devolve into what we now have. So, I will continue "feeding the beast" via the theatre group I run there due to its ease of use, until someone either builds a website for me or another group management site reaches enough critical mass that a majority of people will have those accounts already and can easily participate. Damned if I do, damned if I don't situation. But I will use the free tools that make it easier for me to do so, especially during a pandemic.


At some point America has to accept responsibility for their absolute travesty of an education system and start working towards improvement. If people can't think critically about what they're consuming it doesn't matter whether it's Russia or bumpkin Joe from the hills OR what medium they're using.


> At some point America has to accept responsibility for their absolute travesty of an education system and start working towards improvement. If people can't think critically about what they're consuming it doesn't matter whether it's Russia or bumpkin Joe from the hills OR what medium they're using. Ain't never, ever gonna happen: [George Carlin "The American Dream" - Best 3 Minutes of His Career](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ)


Including Americans.


It says a lot about the country when the elected officials publicly question and even denounce the integrity of the top medical expert of infectious diseases.


They don't seem to grasp the idea that science evolves. Just because things change, that doesn't mean experts were *lying* to us before. Or I guess more accurately, they understand this perfectly well but use it as a tactic to call them liars in order to rally their anti-science voters.


I think the second scenario is much more likely. Instead of lifting up their voters, they intentionally keep them down so they can keep being manipulated to vote against their own interests.


Science is a liar sometimes.


You don't say?


I feel bad for older people. They once lived in a world where accountability ensured that the information they consumed was vetted and could be trusted. Now they’ve been dumped in a world where they can literally find any “information” to confirm what they already believe. They never developed critical thinking skills to discern facts from lies, and now they have no idea how much they’re contributing to making the word worse. I’m not saying older people are the only ones to blame, but it is sad.


1990- my parents, “don’t believe everything you see on the internet “ 2020 - my parents “Biden is an alien in human skin and microchips.”


I remember in 2002 I bought a guitar off eBay. My family was convinced I was getting scammed because “you can’t trust anything on the internet”. They were amazed when the guitar showed up a week later. Fast forward to today and I have to tell some family members that an image with text on it that supports your view is not a fact.


You mean a photo of AOC with some overblown caption like "Wait, Communism doesn't work? I'm going to arrest you for triggering me!" isn't news?


I think there are two sides to this: 1. People, especially the older generations, trust people they like with information. They think "This person is nice to me, they have no reason to lie to me." People will parrot things they heard from somebody they think is smart and trustworthy. This is fine and normal, but people need to learn the difference between an anecdote and a fact. They also need to know that their friend needs to cite their sources as well, most people just take them for their word. 2. People will dig through dozens of articles about a topic and ignore the mass of them that disagree with their preconceived view of the topic. Then they find that one article that confirms their beliefs. That article's author is an expert in the field, so their information must be as valid as the dozens of other experts who have disagreed. Your friend says vaccines caused autism in their child. You like your friend and they haven't lied to you before. You trust this information. You might be curious and look online for this. You see 9 articles that say vaccines haven't been causally linked to autism. You read that as "well maybe they just haven't found the proof yet!" You find 2 articles from people using the "Dr." honorific and they say vaccines cause autism. You don't have the scientific training to find out if the studies had decent methodologies, you just know that at least one study said vaccines are dangerous, thus vaccines aren't totally proven to be safe. Well, now you are fearful of vaccines, and you'll share that with your friends. Now your anti-vax fears are being spread further.


Ha, I was just having this conversation the other day. We were not ready for the internet or perhaps social media for that matter. Millennials maybe tail end genx are the limit (with exceptions) for people who grew up learning, exploring the dos and don’ts of the internet. But the older generations, out of school entrenched in jobs never stood a chance to learn and develop those skills. Unless someone taught them, how could they? It is debatable whether anyone is ready for social media.


I mean, even young people can fall into a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and misinformation very easily. I think all of us are woefully undeprepared for the world of social media, just some are worse off than others.


Gen Z and Gen Alpha conspiracy theories are going to be completely insane. simulation theory is gunna be the new flat earth




Exactly. It's not a conspiracy theory, it's just a way of thinking about the nature of life. It's just as unfalsifiable as christianity as well, whereas flat earth has and will continue to be falsified on a daily basis.


Simulation theory is not incompatible with evidence. It's unprovable, and even if it was it wouldn't really have any impact on our day-to-day. I'm struggling to think what damage it would cause. Apathy? Nihilism? Both in great abundance already!


I mean, if you assume that you're in a Simulation that perfect that it's indistinguishable, and you will never be able to do anything about it, nor counteract it... might as well enjoy that Simulation like it is the real thing, because there isn't even a difference. It seems weird for me to attribute such a theory any more dedicated thought than it gives me entertainment to muse about any hypothesis... but I couldn't understand anyone who changes their life drastically (i.e. by suddenly becoming a fanatical Nihilist) based upon that possibility.


It might be more likely that we all *are* the simulation, not that we are experiencing a simulation and have an outer "selves" to return to. If the universe is a simulation within a higher-order universe, from our frame of reference it is still the only existence we get. At least, as far as we know now.


You can apply my previous statement to either of those interpretations of 'simulation'. If I'm simulated, but can't even confirm whether that is true, might as well shrug and not care, because any thought spent is not going to affect my situation anyways.


Right, I mostly agreed. My only grievance was the usage of "like it's the real thing" because as you said, that distinction can't be made and doesn't really matter to us. Perception is the only measurable reality we have.


Just look at all the young people who unironically attempted a coup in DC. There's a reason why neo-fascists use pewdiepie as a recruitment platform. We're gonna be fucked for a good long while.


What does pewdiepie have to do with fashism? Did I miss something?


Pewdiepie the individual? Nothing, as far as I am aware. But neo-fascists definitely participate in his fandom with the goal of "redpilling" kids.


Human beings in general aren't equipped to deal with the sheer volume of information that is shoved down their throats on a daily basis from every single direction. They will always try to compartmentalize everything so it makes sense regardless of the outcome because not everyone is a philosopher with endless time to debate and make sense of things. How could they when they're busy worrying about not dying or how you're going to retire or buy a house or raise a kid or whatever other daily stress we deal with outside of the 24/7 news dump.


I wonder how the younger generations are doing with the internet.


Not really. Think about all the Cold War propaganda they were fed which made them believe toppling stable democracies in Latin America was a good thing. And before that, yellow journalism is what led to things like the Spanish American war. We had disinformation then, there’s just more now because everybody has a platform


Also anyone born before the 80’s had to deal with the “suck it up” attitude. And I’m not talking about hurt feelings, I’m talking about not being able to do anything about sexual assault, being fired for not staying in line and allowing some kind of corruption happen, work being full of racists, etc. You see now a lot of those issues are coming to light and work culture is very different now than in those times. Biggest example is the me too movement and how a lot of those big cases are from pre 2010. A bit off topic but it adds to your comment and op’s saying that older generations lived in a time of accountability but they didn’t, at least in the US


Thank you. The rabid opposition to *anything* "socialist" is so well embedded in their brains that it's near impossible to see anything of its kind realized within the US without massive pushback. We see Republicans using this to their advantage now by labeling Biden as such, which of course is a totally laughable accusation, to get massive numbers to refuse to vote Dem no matter what.


Yeah no this is not at all right. Yellow journalism has been around for quite a while.


The CIA literally had a program to infiltrate news sources with operatives. It's nothing new at all. Except now we just listen to John Brennen tell us what to think on Morning Joe. No need to infiltrate.


Anecdotal evidence, my older (80's) parents are stuck in a political and Covid bootloop. All their information comes from FB. And they take it as truth because it comes from "Bob who went to Vet school a couple years back but dropped out, thats Steve and Susie's son." I've tried to explain it to no avail, but I strong armed them into vaccines anyways because they live with us and mentioned that however slight the chance, it could possibly kill one of their grandchildren. That wasn't a risk they would take. "News" via social media at your fingertips can be powerful, and dangerous. Leaving for my second vaccine in 30 minutes!


It's not just old people... reddit is no different. Think about how many young people on reddit think that because it was a front page post with a lot of upvotes that it must be true. But it's often times not. There was a front page post about a 1-inch punch that was mathematically proven to be edited just the other. Which is fine. It was a fun video. But OP didn't tell us it was fake and a large portion of the people who saw it believe it to be true. Maybe OP thought it was real too. Now this particular post will have very little recourse in the real world... but the point remains the same. OP saw an edited video, thought it was real, told us it was real, thousands of people believed it was real, upvoted it to the front page, where everyone who saw it there just assumed it was real because it was on the front page. But it was fake. It's easy to say, "only old people do this"... but the truth is, young people do it too.


You don’t realize how bad Reddit can be until you see people talking about a field you specialize/work in. I’ve seen outright wrong information portrayed as fact in highly upvoted posts.


Something I've noticed from some (though not all) of the people I know who grew up in the USSR... They've learned to completely distrust the media. Like, completely distrust, even when the media is telling the truth. They've been so broken by the USSR's state propaganda that they wouldn't believe truthful media if a news anchor told them the sky was blue. It's was worse than just lying to them. They've been so gaslit, they don't know what to believe.


> I feel bad for older people. They once lived in a world where accountability ensured that the information they consumed was vetted and could be trusted. Please provide an example of the mythological time and society where that was true. Your comment decrying misinformation is heavily burdened by ageism and misinformation. **“There has been more new error propagated by the press in the last ten years than in an hundred years before 1798” John Adams - 1798**


I don’t know how much more accurate the info older generations consumed was, but it’s never been easier than now, in the age of the internet, to find out what’s true. And I think older people as a whole are much worse at finding that truth.


Before the internet, you had access to a limited number of news sources. Sure people can debate the bias of those news sources, but we had the Washington Post and the Washington Times where I grew up. These were your sources. If the story wasn’t there, you couldn’t just bust out Google until you found the story covered how you’d like it. You just had these two. Of course I remember my father claiming the Times has a fake story or whatever but the two stories always seemed to come from the same single “source of truth”.


In theory, you're correct: To any question, there's probably a truthful answer already on the internet. But, depending on topic, it might be buried in either obscurity, or an insane amount of propaganda/disinformation. And when it takes actual effort to find that piece of truth, I can see why convenience would lead to people to settle for the next best piece of information. So I'm not entirely sure that 'it's never been easier than now' applies universally.


But it's almost impossible to find unbiased info on many topics. I remember the first time I noticed this, at least 10 years ago. I wanted to know the actual health risks of spaying or not spaying a dog. Everything I found was obviously biased towards lowering the unwanted pet population, or towards defending people's rights to breed dogs. That was all irrelevant to me. I agree with the first set of axe-grinders and I don't want to breed dogs. I just wanted to know what was best for this dog's future health. I still don't know the answer, because everyone's opinion on pet breeding influences what they say. Everything is like this now. I've seen it play out on Reddit with science articles. People don't read it or don't understand it, but then comment authoritatively saying the opposite of what the research shows, or drawing new conclusions, because the facts don't fit their biases.


You missed the other relevant part of his convo where they can easily find whatever info they want online with a nicely designed header, talking heads, and comment section. Previously in the tv era there was just the big 3. Few alternatives around and none with the flair they could expect from abc nbc and cbs.




You could remove COVID-19 from that statement and it still be accurate.


The title isn't accurate to the content. It doesn't address misinformation directly, it's about the social media usage and habits of Canadians. > The researchers analyzed the behaviours of the 200,000 most active Canadian Twitter users and conducted surveys on news consumption habits and COVID-19 beliefs of Canadians. They found that those who use social media are relatively more exposed to US-based information than domestic sources of information, and that exposure to US news outlets was associated with misperceptions about COVID-19. > Moreover, Canadians pay special attention to American media. “On average, they follow three times as many Americans as they do Canadians on Twitter, and retweet them eight times more often,” Country of 330 million is the source of more content than country of 37 million and therefore gets shared more often. Man lands on moon.


You could very likely also remove misinformation from the statement and have it be accurate, too.


I work with multiple foreigners, Scottish, English, African, Australian, German. After knowing them for a bit I asked if America was what they expected and all of them said they were shocked that we aren't all obese rednecks with no sense of humor. That's literally what the world thinks all Americans are. It's sad.


I lived in your country, in different states. It's nothing like that at all. For instance, SanFran is more health conscious than any other place I've been in Europe. Also, I was in "Democrat" and in "Republican" strongholds and, guess what, everyone was really nice to me. We all want to raise our kids in peace, so there's that


People, in general, are people


So why should it be


That you and I get along so awfully.


Upvoting for depeche in the wild


This is true everywhere. Some of the nicest and coolest people I’ve met were Iraqi citizens I hung out with on deployment (US Army).


I live in Germany and that just speaks to the ignorance of people about what America is. Almost no one understands how big America is and how diverse its population is. The degree to which Europeans generalize 340,000,000 people and equate tiny pockets of America to the tens of millions of educated, urban, global, wealthy, progressive Americans is laughable. LA to NY is the same distance from Portugal to Ukraine. And if Americans made those kinds of generalizations about hundreds of millions of people they’d be called morons, well a lot of Europeans are fucking unfunny morons.


America is almost like 6-7 distinctly different country’s in my experience.


My father in law tried telling me and my husband that Moderna is giving people blood clots and the EU/Canada was recalling it...he told me this after I said my mother got her first Moderna shot the other day. I looked at him and was like “mmmm I don’t think so?” Sure enough it wasn’t Moderna it was AstraZeneca vaccine and when we tried to correct him he argued with us....he and his wife refuse to get vaccinated....so irritating. EDIT: Since people are saying I am also being apart of the problem, I apologize for not going into great detail and length about the percentages and numbers of people who get the AstraZeneca vaccine and also get blood clots from it. I assumed, like I did, people would go research and learn that it truly isn’t that bad. In case you don’t want to Google it yourself https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/08/health/astrazeneca-covid-vaccine-blood-clots-explainer-cmd-gbr-intl/index.html there is an article you can go read. The point that I was trying to make is that he tried to scare me about my mother getting the vaccine. That’s not cool. We live in the Bible Belt and it’s truly ridiculous how many people are not getting the vaccination. My husband and I got our second dose yesterday and if I have to do it again I will. I’ve had Covid and it sucked. Four months later I still have side affects. Honestly take every thing you’re told and every thing you read with a grain of salt because it’s not only the people around you spreading misinformation but it’s the American media as well. Once I realized it wasn’t Moderna we informed him and moved on with our lives.


I'm guessing mentioning that the vaccine causes clots in 1 in 250,000 and death in 1 in a million didn't go down well eh? You could argue 2 or 3 out of 100 that get covid go on to die but they'll just say that vaccines are the problem 🙄 Never mind that COVID kills 20,000 to 30,000 for every million infections. It's like people forgot the lessons taught about vaccines as children. It's so sad to see people who were once rational become incapable of the most basic critical thinking.


See this thread for a live demonstration.


The reading capacity of a bunch of commenters is worrying me. Did you guys read the article or reacted to the click-bait title?


It's the second one.


It's not only Americans.


This article has a horribly misleading title. The article is basically about how older Canadians are just as dumb as older Americans. Canadians are believing misinformation spread on social media, so somehow that’s thy e fault of Americans?


These kinds of articles are always amusing ... whole world has dumb people. The difference is, that Americans and Canadians have more access to tech so they can easily spread the dumbness.


And the majority of this is content filtered by social media companies. How many epidemiology graduates has twitter hired, exactly? Who tells them what is or isn't misinformation?


I completely agree with the fact that misinformation is spreading at an alarming rate and is very dangerous to our society as a whole, to me this is a worldwide problem. But, I'm not here to talk about what I agree (99% of the paper) with, I'm here to talk about what I disagree with. The idea that it's all/mostly coming from America, whether their accounts were made, or messages were sent from an IP in USA, doesn't add anything of value to an attempt in curving the truckload of misinformation. It's just a lazy way of saying "that guy did it". Let's say there was a post titled "Chinese are super-spreaders of COVID-19" coming from an "inclusive" University. Imagine the backlash that you would get from the individuals who think that it's ok to identify American's as a root problem but not Chinese. But I guess being insensitive to one group is completely fine when it fits your agenda. Not to mention, the majority of students at the University which published this paper are Americans. I wonder what one of them thinks when you target them in your title and blame misinformation being spread on their behalf. So diverse, much inclusive, very safe space.


Facebook is the worst thing to happen to the world in the modern era


Sick of this divide. There's stupid people all over the world.


I spent a portion of this quarantine period in Germany. There's covid deniers and anti-maskers in every country, it's just the news articles about them aren't in English.


Social media was a mistake


David Bowie called it decades ago.


Man reading these comments really sheds a light on how bad our education system is seriously.


Better title: Canadians on average consume 3 times more American media than Canadian, and studies find they are easily influenced by the media they consume.


The title is rather misleading to the content of the article. It sorta is true, but talking about American affects on Canadian perception through social media and the tilting it as though all Americans are at fault for all the misinformation is near purposefully misleading.


Lololol. Blaming America for Canadians being just as dumb as we are and making it out to be similar to a virus. People are idiots by choice, not by some kind of communicable disease. Nice try though, Quebec.


They've already [said](https://www.cbsnews.com/news/vaccine-disinformation-social-media-center-for-countering-digital-hate-report/) 12 accounts spread 65% of the misinformation. Blaming Americans as a whole, is just wholly wrong. Antivaxxers are everywhere, as well as idiots


Well when people treat it as political instead of science what do you expect.


Most of the fake shit on the internet like flat earthers were created by crack head americans.


Land of the free, home of the stupid


This is what happens when society's dumbest have the loudest voices.


Like the smooth brains in r/nonewnormal


I feel like I just lost a few brain cells scrolling through there.


Anyone who chooses to visit this sub: it is filled with misinformation and people who seriously do not understand the process of vaccine development or personal freedom and autonomy in the US. Please please please educate yourself if you choose to visit this sub and read their content.


Oh god it's idiot cancer. Why did I click that...


Social media is protected under freedom of speech. They can say whatever they want. The biggest concern is people can't tell the differences between truth and fiction. Critical thinking becomes a protective barrier to sort out what's true or false.