The Pitfalls of Social Media Posting of Controversial Topics

The truth is no longer important on social media. The best content is what is known as "Clickbait". The only requisite for it is how many likes, dislikes, shares, and comments you get on a post. But, isn't that innocent? What is wrong with this?

Maybe I have a criminal mind. Maybe I look at something and see how things could be converted into something that it was never meant to be? However, I am a guy who considers possibilities. Possibility is what runs my life. If it is possible for it to happen, it could very well happen and the only thing you have to do to prevent something from happening is to cut out all possibilities for it to happen.

Now, that may be a super cautious way to live and of course it isn't always possible to avoid the possible...but still...when it comes to opening up on social media about things it is the safest bet to assume the worst.

So, what am I talking about?

For some reason there has been a resurgence of the "Flat Earth" and the "Lunar Landing Hoax" ideas in society. I was floored when a life-long and dear friend of mine asked me, "You know, there are people who believe that the world is flat and the lunar landing was faked...what do you think about that?" To be perfectly honest here I will flat out tell you what I answered. I said, "Those people are stupid." I left it at that.

Now, I know that those people aren't necessarily stupid and I feel a bad about being so blunt. For all I know she believes it. Would it matter to me if she did? No, because I love her too much for something as silly as this to affect how I feel about her.

Another friend posted the question on Facebook that read simply: Moon landing: real or fake? I will admit that my gut reaction to this was simply to scroll on to the next thing...but I started to comment on it and I discovered that there is a lot to consider when posting something like this. Controversial subject matter works like gangbusters on a website like Facebook and that what is so powerful about social media in our society today and I will be honest with you when I say, it isn't a positive thing.

There is no accountability for spreading false witness in social media. You can say pretty much anything about anything or anybody and get away with it. You can invade people's privacy, take sections of what someone says and screw it around to mean something completely different or in a different light. The entire social media world is filled up with the most incredible BS that even if there are things that are worth seeing it doesn't get the light of day. It is a farce.

Why am I on social media? I use it keep up with my friends around the world. Lord knows I don't trust it for information.

So, what is wrong with such a simple post as the one mentioned above? A lot is wrong with it. Like I said, I probably have an over active mind so pardon if all of this goes too far, the point of this post is to go too far. As far as I know is probably nowhere near as far as it can go. So, let's get started.

First of all, when a question like "The lunar landing: real or fake?" is posed what is the purpose behind the post? More importantly, what could the purpose of the post be. This is a question of possibilities and they are endless.

Click bait is the first thing that comes to mind. Someone who is wanting to increase the number of people who like, dislike, love, share, and comment on their post improves their standing with the platform's algorithms. This means that because what they posted gets a lot of response and their future posts will be considered more important and therefore be shared on more feeds. So, the question isn't really the purpose behind the post but rather the question is how much response can I get out of this type of post? Do you really want to know how people feel about the question or are you just feeding your feed?

So, let's assume you actually want to know what people think. Why do you want to know? Simple curiosity or is it actually marketing research? Which people believe it is real and and which people believe it was fake? Knowing this, how do I feel about those people, what does that tell me about those people? What does that information make it possible for me to do with them? Do I learn about who I can sell a box of air to and who I shouldn't bother with? What do the other people who see this post, the likes and the comments, think about the other commenters and likers? Don't they form opinions about the others? What about research organizations who skim the platforms to find people to target who could be a potential "like-minded" person/candidate/prospect/sucker for their project?

This post was posted as a "World View" not just friends or private, etc. This means that anyone on Facebook can access this post and use that information for their own purposes. Everything is "DATA". It is a DATA world. You can use the data, pour it into AI, and have it pop out the most incredible conclusions and common areas about those people that they never dreamed they could possibly be a part of.

What was the actual motivation behind the post? Did you post it because it was suggested by some political circle that you associate with to get people to become a part of your organization? How many political groups could use the same information and use it the same way and move them to their project?

Are you actually working as a deep state government operative to find suspected conspiracy theorists who plan to act out on some alternative movements actions? Or are you an alternative movement looking for new members? Did Russia or China hack your access in order to get to your friends list? Did someone else hack it for the same purpose?

Is the purpose of the post actually to get factual information from reliable resources about what is true, why it is true, or why it isn't true? Who are those who are claiming to know the truth? Do they have the knowledge and expertise first hand to be a reliable source or did they get their opinions based on some hobby influencer who just gets their information from other hobby influencers? Do you actually trust the people who answer the question and if so, is it well founded? Probably not.

The algorithm game is another aspect that comes into play when posting such content. What does an organization see when a post such as this one is made public? I would venture to guess it would see it as a warning sign of some kind. Where is this person going with this line of questioning? Facebook owns the website. Everything on it Facebook owns and therefore they probably care about what is on it.

Freedom of speech on social media has been abused to the extent that the perception is that you can lie about things and it goes under freedom of speech, and so you don't suffer any consequence for it. Freedom of Speech doesn't include bearing false witness. If you profess a view that is contrary to fact it is an actual falsehood. Now, this question is obviously not a statement of fact, but what it does is it invites people to post opinions about facts that they most likely do not have the actual knowledge of as a matter of fact. In other words, the temptation is to commit an act of bearing false witness, either knowingly or not knowingly.

Trust is a dubious thing. Are we to trust the good intentions of someone we know, don't know, or who is famous? Are we to take the word of an athlete to give us information about politics or personal finance? Do we trust a celebrity to tell us what gummi to order because the health care industry is trying to keep it from the general public and you had better get it before supplies run out?

The real result of all of this is confusion. When people are confused they panic. When people panic they make bad decisions and do things they wouldn't normally do. If people are panicked they will jump into the first lifeboat they find and that lifeboat may just well take them to a place they had no idea they would ever go. The next morning, when the fog has lifted, the sun comes out, they find themselves astonished by their own actions as a result of trusting something because it was the easiest thing to do, it was popular, it was accepted as the norm, even if it was all a complete lie.

Why go there? Why post something which can serve so many different hidden agendas? What does this do for you? Is it worth it?

I say no. It isn't worth it.

There is a "great idea" out there that states "Ah, THIS is going to unlock the 'secret' my my reason to be..." and it doesn't because it can't.

I too have posted things such as this, and always regretted it. I have written posts on stuff like this and deleted them before I posted it. I have reacted to posts to things such as this and always regret it. I'm not saying that I haven't ever done this because I have. So why now am I so vehement about it? Because it gets me dirty. It gets everyone dirty. Plus, it isn't worth it. What difference would the answer make in our own lives? None. People are free to have their opinions and to live the life they choose to live but don't make it everybody's business to know what your little tiny pea brain idea of what is be the gold standard for your life or valued by others. Let's face it. We don't know.

If you don't have any personal knowledge, expertise, and proof of something, just don't bring it up to be discussed as if at a local bar with a bunch of alcoholic drunks. It is basically the same as throwing a mouse in a box with a dozen hungry cats. We humans are no better.

Now that I have written this blog post and have considered the possible ramifications of what I may post, I am going to be even more careful about what I post, because it doesn't only affect me, it affects us all, and that is a huge responsibility.