Lies, lies, lies

By Joshua Corcuera

In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. We live in an age where it is possible for us to search with our phones to be informed of the latest news, to search for questions that make us curious, to gain more knowledge, and attain a broader understanding of the world around us.

Yet there are many people in social media who believe in ludicrous claims that have already been debunked, such as the world is flat or vaccines are harmful, or the typical lies and historical distortion we encounter in a polarizing political environment. Basically, lies are everywhere at a time where reliable information is easily accessible.

Gone were the days where we still needed to buy a dictionary to understand a word’s meaning or to go to the library to answer questions that baffle one’s mind. Now, just through our fingers typing on our smartphones for a few seconds, we can broaden our vocabulary, satisfy our curiosity, and gain knowledge which we can accumulate to become wiser persons.

But, it is really perplexing why disinformation is a major problem in the world today. What went wrong? Why are lies so rampant? Sure, lies already existed long before the internet came into being, but lies spread like wildfire today. I cannot forget that preposterous claim back in the early days of the pandemic that bananas would cure COVID-19.

The funny and frustrating part is some markets have fully sold their bananas—as if implying that many people really believed bananas would cure such illness. Do not get me wrong, eating bananas are beneficial to the human body, but there is no scientific consensus as of writing that they indeed cure the lethal and contagious virus.

Lies, lies, lies, they are everywhere. So ubiquitous and pervasive they are that fact-checkers around the world, not only in the Philippines, became a thing. It is a good initiative from social media sites such as Facebook to fact-check viral claims to prevent fake news from spreading further.

Aside from fact-checking initiatives, I see that it is imperative for the youth to be guided by professionals on how to verify the things they see and read. Let us admit it, not every piece of material we see is true which is why practicing skepticism in our daily lives seems to be a good idea.

This is not the first time I wrote a column piece discussing the said topic. However, presuming that you are aware of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Eastern Europe, disinformation on that global issue is also widespread.

For example, some videos show a video game of a cannon firing over the night sky targeting a plane—and claim that that video is the actual scenario over Ukraine. It is funny that many people, based on the comments, really believed in such videos even when it is really just a video game.

Moreover, this reveals that disinformation and fake news is not strictly confined within the Philippines, it is becoming a global phenomenon that must be alleviated as soon as possible.