It was just a normal Tuesday evening when Nick Wit was tragically fooled by a pseudo-science article a friend had posted on his Facebook wall. Over the next 3 days, Nick ingested 57 jarfuls of “nutrient rich” mason-jar-cakes, believing them to be libido-mood-buffness enhancers. Nick died.
The inevitable lawsuit that followed might change the way people live their lives – by removing their need to think.
Simon Nose is the new President of Truth and True Thoughts at Facebook. He understands the new world in which we find ourselves. “The newsfeed is the new front page of the newspaper. Clickbait are the new headlines. If we don’t act now, pseudoscience will become the next periodic table. Avatars will become our faces. Who nose [sic] what will happen after that!”
Every day exactly 1 trillion photos are posted to Facebook. 68% of those are photoshopped selfies. “If we don’t stop people from posting edited photos of themselves, how will we ever have the freedom to discern the truth?”
Much like other alert tags, the new ThoughtBot software will insert a brightly coloured warning below or, in extreme cases, on top of fake posts.
Simon says they’re “already developing new software to identify exaggerations in Facebook statuses.” The software will automatically delete gratuitous exclamation marks, and remove obvious lies. For example, no one will be able to post variants of the phrases “I woke up like this,” “Worst day of my life,” or “I had a great time at that Tupperware party.”
A long time coming
Facebook has been laying the groundwork for alert tags for months. Last year they introduced a warning for “satirical news” – an inane trend when so called “comedians” exaggerate real issues in order to draw attention to societal lapses. You may have heard of a couple, The Onion, The Beaverton, or The Toronto Sun.
While a few extremist humor groups have protested against the satirical news disclaimer, Monty Horace says he loves the new Facebook. “I do not enjoy thinking for myself, and I think it’s safe to say that no one else does either,” he told us. “Do you know how many times I’ve told my friends about The University of Waterloo winning the least sexy award? Someone at a party told me it’s fake!”
You’re already signed up
The idea of letting a for-profit corporation decide what is and isn’t true might make some extremists feel a bit uncomfortable. But don’t worry, it will be easy. And you won’t even have to decide whether or not to use it.
“Like all Facebook updates, there is no opt-out feature with ThoughtBot,” says Simon. “We know everyone will grow accustomed to it. Just relax and let ThoughtBot do its thing. Everything will be okay.”
Everything will be okay.