Let’s talk about Facebook. Like, remember when Facebook started and it was like, those pins and poking each other and writing your statuses like this? “Kayla Nicole is eating ice cream and it’s great!” Yeah I do. Better times, honestly. Anyway these days I find myself increasingly more annoyed at all my friends on Facebook. I understand that politics are what’s happening right now, and even as I type this, Betsy DeVos was just voted Education Secretary in an unprecedented tie-breaking vote. This is big. Life is big. But my Facebook feed is absolutely SOAKING IN IT.
Related: Read about why we shouldn’t be arguing on Facebook all the time in Come Together
Wait what does that even mean, crazy lady? What I mean is that I miss selfies and pictures of people’s food and invitations to Candy Crush (Actually I don’t miss those invitations at all, please don’t start inviting me again, mom). Everybody’s an expert these days. Everyone has an opinion. My Facebook friends are split right down the middle – half über liberal left-wing democrats, half super conservative right-wing republicans. So I get articles, one right after the other, saying in turn things like “Trump and his family LIED ABOUT EVERYTHING AND WANT TO EAT YOUR BABIES” and then “Trump shows himself a godly saint who wants to PERSONALLY PAY OFF YOUR CRIPPLING STUDENT LOANS!” Now, the discerning eye would look at both of these headlines and say “That’s probably fake news, I shouldn’t bother myself with reading it.” However I find many of my friends, who I once thought to be well-informed and possessing wisdom, to be liking or even sharing these articles with gusto.
And now the real problem here to me is not the fake news.
Fake news has, and always will exist. The problem is the rampant lack of critical understanding. I have posted on Facebook before my feelings on this, but in this trying time, I find myself having to repeat it. Do not believe every half-baked article that comes across your Facebook feed.
A recent example: You probably saw the video of the dog actor used in “A Dog’s Purpose”. It was a rather disturbing video of a German Shepherd being coaxed into the water and clearly he was afraid. Then the next scene was the dog swimming in said water. The point of the video was “Boycott this movie! Animals were harmed in the making!” Anyone who looked closely though could see that 1) the trainer was being very gentle, and 2) there was a huge cut in the video showing an undisclosed amount of time between the coaxing and the dog actually being in the water. It has recently been found that the video was taken over several different days and the dog was never forced against its will unkindly.
All the necessary and right precautions were taken and no animal was harmed or even taken advantage of.
But the damage has been done. Thousands of people shared this video saying that the movie is terrible and should be boycotted at all costs. But the movie is about the importance of adopting shelter animals! Boycotters are actually harming their own cause!
So bottom line here, is please please take half a second when circulating information to verify its truth. If we can’t know for sure, don’t spread it. It’s that easy. For Christians, the bible admonishes us in Matthew 10:16 –
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (ESV)
Wisdom begins with discernment. Innocence begins with restraint.
If you don’t know for sure, don’t do it. In James 1:19 the Bible tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Even if you don’t profess Christianity, I think it’s still pretty sound advice. As the old saying goes, God gave us two ears to listen and only one mouth to speak. The more carefully you choose your words, the more impact they carry. SO SHUT YO MOUTH. And listen critically. 🙂
That is all.