Let’s take the “Pope endorses Trump” story.

If you are an average Facebook user and the article was shared to you by a friend, you have no reason to disbelieve it.

I disagree. I would have every reason to not believe it, to include those you mention of it not being BIG NEWS on mainstream websites. But beyond that I would disbelieve it simply because it is preposterous. I know the Pope would never endorse a particular Presidential candidate. If the Pope did, for the first time ever, it sure as Hell wouldn’t be Trump.

Your article did not address the most important defense against fake news which is simply the BS detector of every person. The real problem here is that people turn off their BS detectors whenever they hear something they are inclined to want to believe.

When wrapped up in the personality cult of Trump, his koolaid drinking sycophants will believe any BS he spews, no matter how fake it is. They will also believe anything good about him said by completely disreputable sources from Alex Jones at Infowars to endingthefed.com (whose very name should trigger BS detectors).

There are plenty of online BS detectors, like Snopes.com and factcheck.org, to help the stupid and lazy. There are two things that prevent the gullible from using them. First, they are so incredibly blinded by the personality cult and the lies surrounding it, that they believe those cites are fake news. Pages and pages are devoted on the web to debunking them as Soros funded fake news.

But the biggest problem is simply that people want to believe the lie. They like the lie. They prefer it to the truth. Accepting the truth would bring their fragile world view crashing down upon them and nobody wants to go through that trauma.

Automation will not give people BS detectors, nor will it make them want to know the truth. The people who believe the lies will continue to find the lies because they will look for them and because they prefer the lies. They will label the kind of automation you suggest as suppressing the truth. In the modern internet you will simply not be able to hide lies from those want to have them.

If nothing else, the President of the United States will tweet the lies for them.

Written by

Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80

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