Social media is great for fun and entertainment. However, social media is now being used to spread misinformation and modern-day propaganda, with the intent to bring out the worst in people and make them act against their own interests.
We saw this in early May, when the “Plandemic” video exploded on Facebook overnight and immediately became the only thing people could talk and argue about. Dozens of people, both conservative and liberal, right-wing and left-wing, shared the video, often with a caption saying something like, “this is really shocking,” or “I don’t know who to believe anymore.”
The video consisted of an interview with former researcher Judy Mikovitz, with supporting clips mixed in. With its dramatic style, its broad and sensational accusations, and pointed use of clips, the video made a compelling argument that led many to question their own assumptions.
And while “Plandemic” may have been a fascinating and entertaining experience, soon after its release people from across the medical and scientific community discredited nearly every aspect of it. From Judy Mikovitz’s false claims that face masks “activated” the virus, to chiropracters being credited in the video as doctors, to unrelated stock footage of a SWAT raid being used over a segment where Mikovitz talked about being arrested- when in reality she turned herself in at a police station, the video was proven to be filled entirely with exaggerations and manipulations bundled together to support baseless accusations.
Although the video and its conspiracies have largely faded as social and political unrest in this country have risen, there should be no doubt that with one of the most important elections in American history just months away, and with no end to the spread of the coronavirus in sight, more misinformation will rise.
That future video may be just as compelling and just as convincing as “Plandemic” was to many people, but that won’t make any of it true. We should always linger on the side of healthy skepticism. We should put our immediate emotional reactions aside, especially when we are watching a video that was created in a studio, or getting information from someone who is a known liar.
We should pause and think before we share. We should read everything we can about a topic and hear as many different voices as possible before coming to our own conclusions, instead of basing our views on something claimed by a single person in a single video.