Fascinating how fast false rumors spread on social media

This post is about how social media propaganda appeared immediately after a proposed House bill was passed, then spread like wildfire, and was mostly not true. The NY Times reviews the main social media propaganda memes and how their messages are extreme exaggerations, distortions or outright lies.

I have not looked at the bill because I doubt its going anywhere and no need for me to waste time on that. We were ObamaCare consumers starting in 2014 until our insurance rates rose by 140% from 2014 to 2017 to the point we had to drop out of the ACA markets. News reports rarely mention the majority of purchasers receive no subsidies and their rates have risen so fast and so high that many can no longer buy insurance. If you are interested in learning about the real reason for this, please read my lengthy paper on the subject to understand why ObamaCare is fatally broken, by design, with proposed solutions.)

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Social Media is a stupidity amplifier

The news that big insurance companies are dropping out of the exchanges doesn’t mean Obamacare is broken, writes Tim Mullaney. The problem is easily fixable once we realize it’s really about a few specialty drugs.

Source: How Gilead ‘broke’ Obamacare

This article, from a Marketwatch.com reporter says insurance companies are dropping out of ObamaCare due to expensive “specialty drugs”. This assertion does not pass the giggle test.

This article, and its sharing on social media, demonstrates how social media amplifies stupidity. Marketwatch publishes a lame column – and people share it with their friends on social media. Most people are unlikely to be familiar with the subject matter. Those that might understand are unlikely to post corrections – remember, friends don’t correct friends on social media.

Sharing of logical fallacies, factually incorrect articles, and outright propaganda go on every day on social media.

The result is social  media is an amplifier of stupidity.

There is little to stop this onslaught except to stop reading items shared by others on social media. For the past few months, I’ve largely ignored my social media news stream but made the mistake of reading it again last night and ran across this item. All of us are being tricked into sharing nonsense (yes, I’ve done it too).

How can we stop it? If we do not find a solution, our society becomes dumber and dumber and incapable of rational discourse because much of what we know is not true. Social media propaganda trains us to view “the other side” as a low form of life, scum to which we should not interact. Just look at the implicit name calling lurking in social media posts.

Sadly, most people are not learning to think for themselves but are instead regurgitating the opinions (not even facts) of others. Few look at original sources. Few understand core issues at the basis of the beliefs and opinions spouted online. Literally, people are giving up on thinking. If you don’t go along with the popular meme du jour, you are an outcast, probably a member of “the other side” (whichever side that may be), and worse. Facts and logic no longer matter in the new world order of social media.

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Propaganda and the Affordable Care Act

Each of the following widely publicized statements about the Affordable Care Act are not true:

  • HealthCare.gov’s web site problems were just a glitch
  • “70% of consumers are receiving a subsidy”
  • “The Bronze plan covers 60% of expenses”
  • “The average cost of a Silver plan for a 40 year old is…”
  • “People’s policies were canceled because they were junk policies”

What they all have in common is the power of propaganda messaging to spin a story, typically for political purposes.

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