Social media after big events

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TL;DR Summary

  • In this poster, the “facts” do lie.
  • This poster was modified from 162 (or may be 163) to read “164”. Those numbers are false.
  • Snopes.com says, the original social media poster was a lie, based on using different definitions for “pre-Obama” versus “Obama” to inflate the latter’s count.

 

In the aftermath of a mass shooting in Burlington, Washington, I saw “fake” photos distributed on Twitter. Twitter was filled with accusations against Muslims. Few seemed interested in waiting for actual facts. Instead, spreading political ideology was the goal on social media. As 3 lay dead, and 2 others were critically injured (and later died) and as police conducted a manhunt for the shooter, there were a great many political posts advocating more gun control or more guns.

This poster works because of its use of numbers –  and it some how sounds believable. The first 4 numbers are basically correct. Like other propaganda posters, a sequence of true statements is then followed by an untrue statement. Lacking critical thinking, the final statement is then perceived as true.

In the immediate aftermath of a large event, most everything spread on social media is incomplete, exaggerated, subject to change, misreported, or is spun to promote someone’s agenda. Keep your Bull Shit detector set to maximum sensitivity.

Text for Search Engines

Facts Don’t Lie …

Reagan: 11 mass shootings

Bush Sr: 12 mass shootings

Clinton: 23 mass shootings

Obama: 164 mass shootings (or 162 or 63)

 

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