Spreading stupid stuff on the Internet.

You have got to be kidding! Are there that many people who actually believe what they read on the Internet? As someone who was accessing databases on remote computers before the Internet became a reality, you learned to never accept any information without considering the source and why they posted the information. And if Donald Trump does not stop tweeting, someone should do him a favour and make the White House a ‘No Twit’ zone.

But what is really disturbing is that people are believing things like blogs. Blogs are not news. Blogs are, at best, opinions. The individuals who write in these personal spaces are sharing their opinion about their world. Whether our opinions are valid is for you to decide. There are no guarantees.

It is like in the early newspapers. In North America, many newspapers were created to support a political party or the objectives of a community of interest. Even today, we have large dailies with political opinions. We even have radio and television networks that do not keep their political bias out of their news articles and programming.

Even when a large and relatively respected news organization is behind an article on their web site, it does not mean that the writer is not letting personal bias paint the story.

There is also the reader’s bias. Years ago, an older gentleman was asking me about something he read in his daily newspaper. It only made sense when he produced the original item. It was discovered that he was reading the Letters-to-the-Editor, thinking they were news items.

But nobody wants to see an Internet that is rigidly controlled and edited. They might try to do that in some totalitarian regimes but our communities are far better off with a free and open Internet. We might need some parental controls on it but any limitations will be at the cost of our freedoms.

We are entitled to read the differing opinions and to make up our own minds as to what is of interest and what we believe. And just because some of us will not waste our time on Facebook or Twitter, it does not mean we do not understand the social media. What people need to do is always question the source of information. There are many sources that want to manipulate for their reasons—not ours.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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