Just Because It's on the Internet Doesn't Mean It’s True

Monday, June 30, 2014

Digital information spreads rapidly, reaches all corners of society, and is basically impossible to control—even when that information is false. Charles Seife look into the Internet information jungle and explains how to identify and avoid the trickery and fakery that’s so prevalent online. His book Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It’s True? takes on breaking news coverage, online dating, Wikipedia, and more.


Charles Seife

Comments [10]


Just because it's on the INTERNET doesn't mean it's not true.

Jun. 30 2014 05:40 PM
Robert from NYC

My nails on the blackboard verb to noun are lend and loan. I grew up with loan as a noun. One takes out a loan that the bank lends. Whenever I hear loan used as a verb-and it's VERY common now for a long time-it still drives me nuts.

Jun. 30 2014 01:28 PM
Tony from Canarsie

Clarification: In my post below I meant to ask should we blame click-hungry web sites or lazy journalists and editors for spreading this story without researching it?

Interesting segment.

Jun. 30 2014 01:25 PM
MN from Manhattan

I worked at the editorial production dept of Time Magazine for 10 years . Manipulation of facts and how they are presented was often used to sway stories and leave you with an impression that was often 180 degrees off point of the TL news service reporter's story

Jun. 30 2014 12:37 PM
Amy from Manhattan

*On average*, Wikipedia may be as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica, but that average probably covers a wide range. A friend of mine says that in certain areas (mostly topics of expert knowledge) it's very reliable & in others (often subjects of political or cultural controversy) it's very unreliable, w/a large area in between. And you can always check the cited sources.

Jun. 30 2014 12:35 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

More blah blah blah. THe internet is no different then Hyde Park, where anyone can stand up on a soapbox and harangue. Anyone can spread their baloney. SO what? What is the point? People will believe whatever they want to believe, and the truth be damned.
And who says Iraq was an American failure? The US had a civil war less than a century after it won its independence. Should the talking heads of the day say that democracy had failed because the country was split and fighting a bloody, internecine war?
We don't know the final outcome in Iraq, and might not know for another century. Democracy is always a work in progress. There are no prophets in our time.It is all speculation.

Jun. 30 2014 12:31 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I understand how the Internet & the World Wide Web have made it easier for people to see only what they already agree with. Have they also contributed to more people holding more extreme views, or is that more of a perception than a reality? If it is real, what's the role of the Internet & the Web? There was a major increase in extremism in the US in the mid-1990s, when the Web was just beginning. How different is what's happening now?

Jun. 30 2014 12:21 PM
Tony from Canarsie

Now it appears that the recent report of hundreds of babies dumped in the septic tank of an Irish orphanage was based on a wildly exaggerated Facebook entry. Should we blame click-hungry web sites or lazy journalists and editors? Is there any difference anymore? (Associated Press link below)

Jun. 30 2014 12:20 PM

Leonard, I really hope that you are going to have this person answer the question, "how do you know it's true?"

Jun. 30 2014 12:15 PM
John A

Absolutely. The Internet generation has huge numbers of people experimenting with deception as an important part of life. See: 'Poe's Law' for starters. This should be an interesting interview.

Jun. 30 2014 07:41 AM

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