Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lies, Damned Lies.

Ladies and gentlemen, you're sitting in front of an incredible resource. The internet is a glorious thing, all (approximately) 3.78 billion pages of it. Admittedly around 2.5 billion of those are either pornography or kitten related (or in some extreme cases, both) but you have to admit it's pretty damn impressive. If you were to print every page from the internet onto A4 you could cover the state of New Jersey 2.7 times over. And that would really piss of the inhabitants of New Jersey, and would undoubtedly contravene some fire regulations.

That's what scientists officially call a shit load* of information.

And yet, despite this gift, we, as a species, are happy to forget what we can do with it when its convenient. We'll ask questions on forums that have taken longer to formulate than the time it would have taken to type it into Google, we'll fall over ourselves for obviously fake free stuff - and more worryingly, we'll happily grab our pitchforks and flaming torches for any cause that we deem sufficiently worthy. Regardless of whether it's actually true or not.

I'm not going to link to the original article, because I don't want to give this rag any web traffic. Google it if you have to.
Stories began circulating yesterday about The Globe pub in Leicester enforcing a new scheme banning Military Personnel.  The owners Christine and Thomas Hamilton were quoted as saying "In this modern era we must be respectful of the ever expanding multicultural society in Britain, we live in quite a diverse and beautiful land where the slightest thing can upset many people. We have taken the brave step to enforce a military ban at the Globe, tensions are currently high with the local Islamic community and out of respect it’s the least we can do".

Sounds too far-fetched to be true, doesn't it? That's because it is, and - like most bullshit on the internet - can be debunked easily within 30 seconds.

Firstly, look at the source. The Daily Bale is, being generous, a pile of steaming horseshit. This is a "news" site that claims that the West Wiltshire Advertiser is a communist newspaper (oh, and the Leicester Mercury which - incidentally - is owned by the Daily Mail Group. Those famed communists).

Secondly, the photograph from the article is of completely different owners of a completely different pub. The Oak, in Knutsford. That's kind of important.

Lastly - and this is probably the most important one of all - is there any evidence that the owners actually made that statement at all? Because that's - and bear with me on this one - critical to this whole story, yeah? And a cursory glance and google search reveals that every single article about this story links back to the original Daily Bale article. Almost as if the owners of the Globe never actually said any such thing.

But why let the truth get in the way of a foaming frenzy, right? So the bullshit gathers momentum until it's circulating across the entirety of the internet by which time the damage is done. Hard working people who have done nothing wrong get death threats.

So, remember the golden rule - and this goes for pretty much everything in real life as well as on the internet - If it sounds like bullshit, it probably is. And more importantly, you have the tools at your disposal to confirm or deny it. People get hurt by this stuff - actually hurt - and if you're spreading this malicious nonsense, you're as guilty as those who wrote it.

And on the subject of lies on the internet, the One-Direction-Fans-Who-Commited-Suicide-Over-The-Recent-Channel-4-Documentary-ometer currently stands at 8.1 kasquillion dead.

* A Shit load (or "Sl")  defines any quantity more than 6 but less than 29.

1 comment:

  1. And yet Joshua Bonehill still carries on


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