back to article Google has unleashed Factivism to smite the untruthy

I remember when I first noticed “factivism”. It was more than 10 years ago. In 2003, Californian internet evangelists were still bruised by the dot.com implosion when the United States invaded Iraq on a bogus pretext, WMDs. The web evangelicals thought: wait a minute. The Internet (PBUI) is a Good Thing. The Internet delivers …

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Those who like facts will pay attention. Otherwise not.

I myself like facts and I believe I am swayed by them. Would I be persuaded by facts that took me to places I don't like? I hope so. If I felt the facts themselves were solidly based. For instance, I would trust a review of a medical breakthrough more from the BMJ than, say, the Daily Mail.

Some do not care as much for facts as for an emotional state. My example is Giuliani claiming that Clinton was never in New York after 9/11, being shown footage of himself beside Clinton right after 9/11 and recanting, then repeating at a rally the next day that Clinton was never in New York after 9/11. The emotional state for his followers (and perhaps for him) is more important than facts.

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FAIL

Re: Those who like facts will pay attention. Otherwise not.

The problem is Google claims that it's participation in PRISM isn't a fact.

"Be careful who you trust, the devil was once an angel." - Ziad K. Abdelnour

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Facepalm

Re: Those who like facts will pay attention. Otherwise not.

Facts, but in context please. The Daily Mail may be perfectly correct in saying, e.g. statins can cause cancer. But without context (X% greater risk on a minuscule base?) or acknowledgement that statins are generally life-savers, it's just - well, typical Daily Mail

I highly recommend Bad Science by Ben Goldacre as a tutorial on how to treat "facts"

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Facepalm

Re: Those who like facts will pay attention. Otherwise not.

I would trust a review of a medical breakthrough more from the BMJ than, say, the Daily Mail.

I think many people would trust a review more from the Beano than the Daily Mail.

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Re: Those who like facts will pay attention. Otherwise not.

Well big deal if Clinton was in NYC after 9/11, what good did it do anybody?

Maybe Giuliani meant she wasn't there in a figurative sense rather than a factual, physical sense.

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Re: Those who like facts will pay attention. Otherwise not.

Habitual lying and denial of the actual state of the world around them is usually classed as a mental illness and does not bode well for policies or interactions with institutions and other countries that do not have a causal relationship with reality. We have had campaign in poetry, govern in prose. We now we have campaign in lies and hate, waiting to see how this one ends and fervently hoping it is not how it has ended in the past.

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LDS
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"Over decades, politics became about talking at people"

Rhetoric was already a key political skill in ancient Greece and Rome - where some political position were elective (evidently, of very little use wherever you got a position for being born in the right family and order only). So, nothing new under the Sun.

Most people are gullible, and prefer to hope about fantastic promises than see realizable ones fulfilled. You just need to touch the right chords, and that's what rhetoric - especially is modern implementation, often poll- and spin- driven is about.

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Just apply this one on a loop:

"Fact: What the candidate just said doesn't actually mean anything."

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"My opponent is a liar and cannot be trusted"

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I'm wondering how many people believe Trump when he says Obama created ISIS.

I'm aware that Trump meant that Obama's policies allowed or partly caused the rise of ISIS, but I'm wondering how many of his supporters believe that Obama directly created it.

I guess it's a version of Poe's law.

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Anonymous Coward

Head in the sand?

"I'm wondering how many people believe Trump when he says Obama created ISIS."

Would you prefer the long,

https://duckduckgo dot com/?q=obama+created+isis

or short,

"I'm in denial of the denial of reality, people will believe anything"

version of the truth here?

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> "I'm wondering how many of his supporters believe that Obama directly created it."

In other words, "I'm wondering how many of the people I disagree with are blithering idiots."

Do you really need to demean your ideological opponents to score against them? You wouldn't, if the truth were on your side. Unfortunately your side is being forced to ingest a giant pulsating wad of corruption and call it yummy. Bon Appétit!

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That question is only relevant if there is some solution for this. You can fact check Trump all you want but most of his voters don't care about the truth - to them the truth is what he says it is.

Then you get to fact checking Clinton, and her labyrinthine explanations about her email server have evolved so much it isn't clear exactly what "fact" you're trying to check.

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Unfortunately your side is being forced to ingest a giant pulsating wad of corruption and call it yummy. Bon Appétit!

True but Trump won't be in office for ever.

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Black Helicopters

I actually think Trump is being truthful when he says the election is rigged. Perhaps the only explanation of his candidacy so far is that he is running a false flag campaign to hand the election to Hillary. Seriously, what would Trump do differently if he was trying to lose the election?

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Anonymous Coward

A: He would have run like Jeb Bush, a low-energy version of Hillary, spouting pandering and platitudes, taking money while complaining about all the money in politics. They would have looked pretty much the same, and you would have voted for the one with two X chromosomes so that you could feel progressive.

And they would have succeeded if it had not been for Trump and those meddling centipedes...

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Yeah, Trump's caught the Bernie Disease. He caught a whiff of success, and now he's come over all gung-ho for the race! Well, what happened to Bernie will be made to happen to Trump too!

Nothing must be allowed to impede Hillary's Progress towards the Presidency. So let it be written, so let it be done.

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Trollface

Interesting approach, just one problem

It's the Presidential Elections. Since when have facts ever mattered during this period ?

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Re: Interesting approach, just one problem

Worse, with the $$$millions sloshing around in campaign funds, it only takes a diversion of a small amount to the sort of companies who do social media marketing campaigns to put out any message you want. Yes, they already do it, and a Ministry of Truth would just be another target for them. They'd just need to to widen their range and create "references" for their "truths".

I remember seeing one of these companies highlighted on The Gadget Show last year (when I finally decided enough was enough and cancelled the series link) and they were demonstrating and bragging how they could get almost any topic "trending" within hours by splashing it all over their own feeds and bots and how they cultivate and even pay for "followers" and re-tweeters etc. Naturally the Gadget Show hosts were impressed rather than horrified or critical.

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Well, I'm not paying attention unless it supports my pre-existing biases. So, there!

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Devil

Google as the Brahmin priesthood?

Ha ha!

I'd trust them less than Clinton, Blair, Bush, Trump, Putin etc.

Though I think their agenda is making money. At some stage though all large corporations become more interested in Empire Building and Ego than purely profit motive. That's a worrying thought.

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Paris Hilton

Leveling down to the lowest common denominator

As someone posted above, I also care about facts. Many people do.

Sure, quite a few people do not care, and no amount of fact-checking and/or logic and/or pleas for human decency will make a difference to them. Fine. It is always been like that, and always will. That does not mean we should then just give up our will to live, go live in a dumpster, and all that. After all, what's the point, right? No.

There are lots of people out there, all those who are not political junkies, who only started paying attention to this circus after the first presidential debate. They might have "heard" rumors on their Facebook timeline or Twitter or whatever that there was craziness going on, but they might not have really read anything until now, or paid attention to the candidates. They are NOT saturated in this like I am, for example. Maybe they do not know one cannot literally acid-wash emails -- for all they know, one can, who knows. Some might be even more uninformed and actually be ready to believe that Hillary has been fighting a less than 10 year old organization "all her adult life", even if she somehow is a co-founder of said org (huh?).

Sometimes fact-checking seems pointless, and it sure is if you pick the right scenario. That does not mean that it is without value.

But yes, "who fact-checks the fact-checkers" is a VERY relevant thing to keep in mind. Since this is all a bit new, maybe mechanisms (not necessarily tech) will pop out, or have already, to establish who is trustworthy (always under revision) and who is not, just like it is done with polling.

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Big Brother

Over decades, politics became about talking at people, in the belief that can humans can "be engineered and corrected by instruction from their enlightened betters”

If only. It seems to have become a "free for all" for those on the inside and "let the rubes deal with the shit, just keep them busy" for the rest.

Meanwhile we get fed bullshit that even pigs would avoid. Ukraine is being invaded and Russians shot down MH-17. Iran is active in Yemen. ISIS is absolutely not a joint CIA-Saudi effort. Bogeyman of the day has WMD. Trump is worse than Bill Clinton regarding wymmen etc. etc.

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Facepalm

Yeah, yeah, yeah, and the CIA blew up the twin towers, launched a cruise missile at the pentagon and all those missing people who died were really taken to the dying and polluted future to save the human race from extinction. Oh, don't forget, the lizard people are the real rulers of the world.

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so if one side is simply making stuff up

Both (or more sides) make up different stuff.

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Well at least Clinton's team didn't use Boot and Nuke

The other side would have had a field day.

What's worse, the meticulous and constant rebuttal of arguments, like Usenet of old with nested quotes or just letting made-up shit go uncontested?

Both stem from the same problem, that nobody is able to articulate a coherent vision for the future based on how things are at the moment, explain why this is for the greater good, and say how to get there from here. If that could be set out first, then it might be possible to have a somewhat decent debate which isn't just finger pointing and name calling.

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Re: Well at least Clinton's team didn't use Boot and Nuke

Both stem from the same problem, that nobody is able to articulate a coherent vision for the future based on how things are at the moment, explain why this is for the greater good, and say how to get there from here. If that could be set out first, then it might be possible to have a somewhat decent debate which isn't just finger pointing and name calling.

We tried that. A guy named Bernie Sanders noted that the people of countries with government paid tuition and healthcare seem to not go broke as often, and that being the world's policeman only got us a bunch of grief, and tried to suggest going about things differently. If the powers that be had not decided that, having been blindsided by a skinny black guy once, they were not about to have that happen again, we might have gotten somewhere. Maybe not anywhere better, but at least different.

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Re: Well at least Clinton's team didn't use Boot and Nuke

"having been blindsided by a skinny black guy once,"

Indeed, just look at all the damage/change he achieved, his first heroic action being to close Guantanamo Bay...

"A guy named Bernie Sanders noted that the people of countries with government paid tuition and healthcare seem to not go broke as often"

You mean Ireland, Greece and Italy? Or Cuba and Venezuela?

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Terminator

It is a fact

That politicians lie. You can tell, because their lips are moving. No matter who wins, the rich get richer, infrastructure goes un-maintained in favor of useless pork projects and increased military spending, while the electorate drowns itself in "reality" TV programming because trying to parse actual reality requires too much effort. Why think, when XYZ News Channel will do it for you? And tout drugs, cars and other crap you don't need along with their soporific propaganda.

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What Juvenal said centuries ago still applies today.

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

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Re: What Juvenal said centuries ago still applies today.

Cui bono is more apt these days.

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LOL

http://www.snopes.com/2016/10/17/wikileaks-julian-assange-reportedly-dead/

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Facts are irrelevant in this campaign

I don't care. I'm not voting for Trump because of facts of any sort. I'm voting for him because it's the political equivalent of pulling the pin and tossing the grenade in the china shop.

This country sucks balls. It deserves him and the shitstorm he'll bring.

I certainly don't want Clinton and more years of "business as usual"

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Re: Facts are irrelevant in this campaign

"I don't care. I'm not voting for Trump because of facts of any sort. I'm voting for him because it's the political equivalent of pulling the pin and tossing the grenade in the china shop."

It's the political equivalent of pulling the pin and hugging that grenade closely to your chest.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Facts are irrelevant in this campaign

Don't bother with Trump. As others have noted, he's a false flag promoted by the Clintons and the media, and he's a good friend of Bill Clinton and Jeff Epstein. You can also check out Podesta's "Pied Piper" strategy e-mails, and maybe consider looking into Pence's ties to Koch Industries.

The only way to vote against the establishment is to vote third party. Staying within the two-party system is exactly what has brought us to our current situation.

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Mushroom

Re: Facts are irrelevant in this campaign

If you don't get this - you are part of the problem

If you do - then remember vote early - voting often is reserved for those who are part of the problem

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Re: Facts are irrelevant in this campaign

Not a History Channel fan i take it.

There are always worst options than 'business as usual'

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Coat

Has this article been fact checked?

:P

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Go

Even dubious fact checking is a step up

Look at the situation in its current state.

1.) Some pundit or politician spouts some BS.

2.) Many start to believe said BS and internalize that "information" before any rebuttals are made.

3.) Fact checking may or may not be done on aforementioned BS.

4.) Only a minority of the initial audience goes to view the corrected record.

5.) BS largely stands, and gets repeated, further cementing the BS as fact among the audience.

If fact checking were done on the fly, before these bogus assertions can get repeated and re-tweeted a billion times, then there may at least be some pause. Even if the fact checker is not fully trustworthy by one or more sides of an argument, the fact that it was contested at all is better than it not having been.

Obviously, the trustworthiness of the fact checker is a concern, but certainly no more so that an unchecked BS artist running his/her mouth. We can worry about the trustworthiness of the fact checker once the fact checker exists.

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Re: Even dubious fact checking is a step up

I've found Snopes, PolitiFact and PBS Frontline to very reliable.

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"Trump really could not care less about his Truth-O-Meter rating."

Since when has any politician scored highly even lowly on the truth-o-meter ?

Didn't Sir Humphrey teach you anything ?

"A good speech isn't one where we can prove he's telling the truth. It's one in which nobody else can prove he's lying"

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Anonymous Coward

On the implementation...

A quick look at the New Scientist article suggest those "facts" will come from the internet itself.

Just looking at how the internet produces "facts", this leaves me a bit unconvinced.

On a slight tangent, Google results themselves seem to be becoming less and less useful by the day. For a start, they don't seem to take obsolescence into account, so when looking for anything IT related, for example, the first thing you need to do is to filter anything over a year old (the second thing is to ignore any Stack Overflow results). Then the other thing is, for some reason sites that try to *sell* you something always seem to rate higher than sites with actual knowledge (I use private browsing and Google cookies are rejected, so there should not be much browsing history bias, not that that would justify their choice, mind).

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The simple fact is

All facts are subjective.

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Re: The simple fact is

You forgot the /sarcasm tag.

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Re: The simple fact is

Don't need no sarcasm tag, I would like to see the objective reasoning of the two downvoters.

<nonsarc>fuckwits</nonsarc>

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Re: The simple fact is

I call that denialism. Facts are usually undeniable, hence the handle 'fact' aka 'a thing that is known or proved to be true'. I think you may have justifiable issues with conventional wisdom, but conventional wisdom is far from factual.

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Irony in spades

An article with an agenda complaining about the possibility of facts verification having an agenda.

This is satire, right? Right?

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Babies and bathwater spring to mind

Clearly those are some extremely bad examples, but surely the best approach is to encourage sensible fact checking, rather than dismiss the whole idea based on poor implementation?

My vision for the future of fact checking would be to start with figures and quotes. Most published quotes are stripped of context -- the fact checkers only need to put that back in, which would instantly undermine most purposeful misrepresentation.

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Anonymous Coward

Wut

The Internet (PBUI) is a Good Thing

What on earth is PBUI?

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Re: Wut

>What on earth is PBUI?

'Peace Be Upon Him' - a common follow-up to mention of the Prophet, by Muslims. It's about respect.

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