Social Media… the Modern World’s Go-To for News

First, let’s start off by saying that this is NOT a political post. It’s an apolitical post about fact checking using examples involving politicians.

I saw the following post on Facebook when a friend shared it so I went to the original post and that is where I got this screenshot. I cropped out the comments because I don’t want to promote the negativity that was coming from both sides. I decided not to blur the name or profile pic of the original author because he chose to make this is a public post that’s visible to the entire world. That said, please do not look him up and hate on him if you disagree with him. He’s got the right to his opinions and the right to share them in a civilized manner. He’s done nothing wrong.

The post starts off with the original author imploring us to look at this photo of President Donald Trump and “imagine the weight he must be feeling right now” (emphasis added by current author). Although the original author does not specify what is meant by “right now” given that it was posted on 30 March 2020 and references “what we’re currently experiencing” it is reasonable to assume he is talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. But in the end it doesn’t matter what issue he’s talking about because this photo was not taken during “what we’re currently experiencing.”

I ran a reverse image search last night and it turns out that this photo was taken on 14 November 2019. You may remember that the impeachment inquiry that eventually lead to Trump’s impeachment was going on at that time. The downtrodden look is not surprising. But this photo has nothing to do with current events so why share it now???

I saw another post by someone else on 2 April 2020 about Prime Minister Trudeau getting a pay raise on April 1st despite all that is going on with COVID-19. I saw that post on a social media page that tends to be biased so I decided to fact check that claim. Yes, Justin Trudeau got a pay raise on April 1st… in his capacity of Member of Parliament representing the riding of Rideau. In fact, EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT GOT A RAISE ON THAT DAY. Legislation implemented in 2005 entitles MP’s and Senators to a pay raise on April 1st every year. The post neglected to mention that every other MP also got the exact same pay raise as Trudeau and that this wasn’t implemented during a global crisis. And if it’s any consolation to naysayers the leaders of our major parties- Trudeau (Liberal), Scheer (Conservative), and Singh (NDP)- have all volunteered to donate their bonus to charity this year.

What I’m trying to say is that if you read something in the news that vilifies a person or position you dislike and praises a person or position you support do a simple fact check. It may be too good to be true. Check the date that it was posted. Check for the name and contact info of the author and his/her editor. Always use critical thinking and common sense. And just because you saw it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true! If posting something online makes it reality then Elvis is alive and we’re getting married in Hawaii! I said it online so it must be true, right 🤔

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