The internet is a fantastic resource. The whole of human history and knowledge is just a search engine away. There’s just one problem; you should never really trust the internet. There are plenty of ways the internet misguides you. The following are just a few.
This is why people say you should never cite Wikipedia; anyone can write whatever they want. The internet is filled with opinions masquerading as facts and with people just outright lying.
Any time someone says they did or saw something on the internet you should take it with a grain of salt unless they provide proof. As the internet puts it; “Pics or it didn’t happen.”
“Would someone really do that? Just go on the internet and tell lies?” is something that gets asked about the internet a lot. Yes. Yes they would. There are a number of reasons people lie on the internet.
The main one is, of course, attention and validation. People will lie all the time to push their own personal agendas. Oddly enough they will also accuse others of being liars. There are even people who believe their own lies and tell themselves it’s okay to lie. Some people are even paid to lie on the internet!
It’s true; people are really paid to lie on the internet. They’re very subtle about it too. Online communities such as Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and any large site, are riddled with people known as “shills”.
That is, people who are paid to shill a product. They are paid to leave positive reviews, and even negative ones. It’s why you’re advised to look at three star reviews on Amazon and not trust 1 and 5 star reviews. People who leave 3 stars give actual opinions and tell you the good and bad.
One of the biggest problems with the internet is that it’s filled with scams. Those websites that offer to fix all the problems in your life for just $199, no $99, no $47 dollars.
Scams are sort of a combination of all the other points. People are able to say anything they want with no reliable source, and other people are paid to leave positive reviews that are completely false. Some scammers don’t even take the time to get other people to leave fake reviews for them.
A problem that is becoming more prevalent on the internet today is censorship. Online communities tend to follow a narrative. Try to go on a website and post an opinion that is different from that of a majority of users and watch what happens. At best you will be hounded off of the site with abuse, and at worst your dissenting opinion will just be deleted, and you will be banned. When no dissenting opinion is allowed, no discussion can be had an no truth can be seen.
The internet can do a lot of good, but that doesn’t mean you should trust it. Everyone has an agenda and it’s up to you to do your own research, stay critical and protect yourself from the lies on the internet.