Conspiracy Theories Are A Viral Plague On Society, And Here's How We Can Stop Them

Conspiracy Theories Are A Viral Plague On Society, And Here’s How We Can Stop Them

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If you believe in “crisis actors,” this article is not for you. Kindly show yourself the door, because you are beyond reach and can’t be helped, and the grown folks need to talk.

This article is for those of us who are fact-driven and demand the truth.

Following the most recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida, a scourge of conspiracy theories has arisen regarding so-called “crisis actors.”

Each of these theories is patently false and easily proven so.

And yet, the human shit-stains who create these false posts somehow manage to get enough traction on Facebook and Twitter to attract millions of views.

This is an outrage.

Hundreds of thousands of shares. It’s easy to fall into a knee-jerk reaction and dismiss these claims as utter absurdity not worth our time or energy, to assume they are the mad ravings of a fringe group of radicalized individuals, to believe their lies have no impact.

But they do have an impact.

111,000+ shares on one Facebook post and 23,000+ shares on another. Twitter and Instagram are overrun with similar posts. Huge audiences are seeing, believing, and sharing these ridiculous claims.

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Even Benjamin Kelly, district secretary for Florida Representative Shawn Harrison (R-Tampa) was fired late Tuesday for alleging to reporter Alex Leary, of the Tampa Bay Times, that two of the most outspoken Parkland students, David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, were actors who “travel to various crises when they happen.” A grown-ass man who is involved in the making of our laws. Benjamin Kelly, shame on you.

Millions of people are falling for this bullshit. It’s mind boggling and infuriating.

One of the more widely-circulated posts shows an image supposedly taken from a California yearbook from 2015. Can someone explain to us, then, why the kid two rows up is wearing an “Eagles” shirt – the Mascot for the Parkland high school where the shooting occurred?

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And this video showing the Douglas 2017 yearbook in its entirety:

Yet for people who are not sure what to believe, who are just rushing through their day and only glancing quickly (or for district secretaries who are so painfully stupid they make us weep for humanity), these posts can appear convincing. And they are getting shared by the thousands.

So here is what we need to do: REPORT THESE POSTS. We need to shut them down before they ever get traction.

Here’s how:

In the upper right hand corner of a post, there are three little dots. Click on those. One of the options in the drop-down menu will be “Give feedback on this post.” Choose that. Facebook will then prompt you with the option to report the post as fake news.

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Facebook is removing these posts, but they can’t remove them if they don’t know about them. Though it has to be said: Hey, Facebook. PAY ATTENTION. You have algorithms controlling every freakin’ aspect of our news feeds, but you can’t get a handle on this obviously fake nonsense? GET. IT. TOGETHER.

And an extra heaping of shame goes to Twitter and Instagram, because they still do not have a reporting feature for fake news. Good on Twitter for removing millions of bot accounts overnight, but Twitter, for the love of facts and logic and democracy, give users a way to report fake news.

Can you imagine if it was your child who had survived such a horrific tragedy, and in the midst of your pride of their bravery and tenacity for standing up for themselves despite their grief, you saw millions of people defaming and spreading false news about them? How is this even reality?

Perhaps even worse, this type of misinformation confuses the public and prevents productive discourse toward the enactment of common sense gun reform to protect innocent lives. Our children desperately need us to come together and enact change. Discussion is impossible when the very violence necessitating the change is having its validity questioned.

But that’s exactly what these fake news creators intended. So please, if you see false news on your Facebook timeline, report it. And share THIS article. Fake news needs to stop, and it needs to stop yesterday.

If you would like to join the fight for common sense gun legislation, sign up at Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America or text READY to 64433.SaveSaveSaveSave

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