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How The Information Age & Social Media Have Failed Us

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Date: 12/31/2014

We live in a world where a massive amount of information is right at our fingertips; first computers, and now cellphones, tablets, and other “smart” devices.

The irony is that, though we apply a label of “smart” to these tools, they are hardly conducive to ensuring the growing intelligence of the user.

I don’t mean to blame the technology; a tool is only as useful as the person wielding it.

Let’s start with something simple. Go to your preferred search engine, and type in any controversial issue (vaccines, GMOs, Obama) followed by the word “Truth”.

If you look through the results, you’ll find a wealth of information. Sadly, facts among the diatribe are far and few in between. Searching for truth, sadly, reveals little of it.

The issue grows even more through social media; Viral is the new truth in digital age. Shares and likes are the accolades and awards of the digital publisher. Ad revenue ensures these lies, damned lies, and statistics continue to flow.

If it’s sensationalist, it sells, and damn reality in the process.

The worst part is the fact that nearly every one of these lies that go viral has been refuted; in some cases, ages ago. Even further down this insane rabbit hole, these falsehoods not only still gain traction as truth for the blind, but they also influence the true bastion of hope; honest, unbiased science. Well, the scientists, at least.

An example I’m about to share could be construed as, essentially, domestic terrorism.

Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines, was briefly removed from use due to.. well, excuse me, but.. fear-mongering idiots with too much time on their hands. The consequences of not using this preservative have included, quite simply, suffering and death. If we can’t use preservatives such as Thimerosal, we are unable to ensure vaccines can be stored in more than just single doses, making them more expensive to produce and procure.

Never mind the fact that Thimerosal does not, under any circumstances, cause autism. Never mind the fact that you get more mercury from a tuna fish sandwich than you do from vaccines. Never mind the fact that the quack who originally published the basis for a good chunk of the anti-vaccine fear-mongering was proven to have falsified data for his own personal gain.

Never mind the truth; though it will set you free, we live in a world where we’d rather be imprisoned within the lies.