Don’t Let Social Media Fool You

Noel Sales Barcelona
3 min readFeb 6, 2023

A disease is now plaguing the modern world; unfortunately, this spreads more quickly than the dreaded coronavirus of the past. This disease is the disease of disinformation.

The primary carrier of this dreaded illness is social media, particularly the ones owned by Mark Zuckerberg. Google’s YouTube also has become one of the tools of disinformation peddlers to “sell” their goods.

In my country, the Philippines, Facebook is considered “the internet of the masses.” It is said that 92% of the entire Philippine population is hooked on Facebook, spending almost nine days and 18 years annually browsing its content. YouTube, meanwhile, is in the number 1 spot, with Filipinos spending an average of 11 days and 14 hours yearly on the platform.

As proof of the pudding, my 73-year-old mother is hooked on Facebook, believing almost 95% of what has been published on its pages. She browses Facebook eagerly daily as if it were her Time or Newsweek magazine. For me, it’s worrisome.

A Threat to Democracy and Intellect

As journalist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa put it: Facebook threatens a thriving democracy.

In the 2016 and 2022 national and local elections, Facebook was used as a platform for hostile propaganda. Politicians and their cohorts used paid trolls to spread rumors against their rivals and even conspiracy theories and other misinformation to strengthen their political cause and push for their selfish political agenda. However, this phenomenon is happening in the Philippines and other parts of the world. A thing which is truly alarming, as far as I’m concerned.

Aside from being an assault on democracy, the thriving “rumor” and “conspiracy theory” industry is also a threat to human intellect. The more people believe in these conspiracy theories and fake news, the more human intellect degrades.

This phenomenon also becomes a threat to humanity and the world itself, as conspiracy theorists and paid trolls also attack the legitimacy of science. The more we believe in “fables” and “anecdotes,” the more we are harming ourselves, as the article by Melinda Wenner Moyer for American Science suggests.

“The dangerous consequences of the conspiratorial perspective — the idea that people or groups are colluding in hidden ways to produce a particular outcome — have become painfully clear. The belief that the coronavirus pandemic is an elaborate hoax designed to prevent the reelection of Donald Trump has incited some Americans to forgo important public health recommendations, costing lives. The gunman who shot and killed 11 people and injured six others in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018 justified his attack by claiming that Jewish people were stealthily supporting illegal immigrants. In 2016 a conspiracy theory positing that high-ranking Democratic Party officials were part of a child sex ring involving several Washington, D.C.–area restaurants incited one believer to fire an assault weapon inside a pizzeria. Luckily no one was hurt,” wrote Moyer.

Can Make You Spiritually “Sick”

Aside from the adverse social and intellectual effects, believing in everything you see on social media also threatens your Consciousness and Spirit.

Every day, I read many posts — from quotes to videos — peddling absurd “spiritual” information. Many people, who call themselves “advance seekers,” “avatars,” “gurus,” or “starseeds,” are the ones who are proliferating false teachings about spirituality and spiritual development. What is saddening is that many people are too susceptible to believe them and even pay hefty amounts to learn some foolishness.

We must learn some common sense and analytical thinking to not fall into the pit of ignorance and senselessness now increasing on social media.

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Noel Sales Barcelona

A former freelance journalist, art and cultural critic, and an intuitive from the Philippines. I am the new species of weirdness.