As the dizzying cyclical viral game of Duck, Duck, Goose is on a perpetual repeat mode of teenage binge watching taxing the 15-second average attention span of the younger generations afflicted by instant gratification, the past is constantly wiped from the collective conscience and redefined by a comprehensive cultural suffering of Turrets syndrome. The dynamic memory dump orchestrating a societal lobotomy at random intervals has put validity on notice that ambiguity is acceptable as fact, as long as there exists entertainment value. Smartphones only enhance this disturbing reality, and the self-policing force of the digital dream world self-proclaimed fact checking industry only substantiates a nightmare where the construct of hierarchy is haze at best.
Recently, the who’s who of those claiming to foster accountability in the information age took the flailing YouTube to task in authoring an open letter citing the prevalence of “fake news” on the streaming video platform, with the core message in scolding the corporation for failing to prevent Covid-19 detractors from posting misinformation. The correspondence only looks good on paper, as it is a known fact that the domain allows questionable content only if it forwards a specific agenda conducive to a bias, and is a known offender for deliberately limiting or banishing Conservative content.
In beating the proverbial dead horse to death in singling out YouTube for the alleged distribution of repeat offenders of proliferating half-truths, even in the wake of Alex Jones’s banishment from the multimedia share community, the fact checkers are in a sense showing their vulnerability to the great equalizer of time, as the younger generations have as much concern about whether something is true as they do surrounding issues of privacy. While it is disconcerting that 33% of high school students believe that the earth is flat, the damage may have already been done. As the writing is on the wall in terms of possibility becoming as obsolete as a set of square wheels attached to the Delorean in parroting that the Google-owned subsidiary is the necessary evil to humanity reaching the near future.
The illustrious “fact checking” co-signees of the document posted on Poynter.com, and addressed to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, include the Washington Post’s verification team, PolitiFact, and accompanied by a litany of obscure international organizations spanning third world countries. The justification for the presence of nations in Africa, Asia, and South America is reasonable as the letter claims that moderation efforts are severely limited in non-major languages, in allowing nefarious accounts to be used for geo-political propaganda and posturing. However, the main vein of the document concentrates on the alleged abundance of streaming productions falsifying narratives surrounding the pandemic. Under the possible mesmerizing influence of big pharma, pointed verbiage includes a direct indictment of the social media giant permitting videos featuring anti-mask, anti-vax, and alternative cures content. Basically, any dissenting opinion to what is perceived as truth by the mainstream media and the CDC, and processed by the masses, is framed as misinformation by the global roster of groups indifference to unrelenting rhetoric. It at this nexus in the universe that the question has to be entertained, “Who is checking the fact checkers of the fact checkers?”
While the limitless mirrored image of Matryoshka dolls makes Schrodinger’s cat cringe in the never-ending closed feedback loop spawned by sanctimonious internet watchdog syndicates accomplishing a Chinese Liberation Army magnitude of nano-engineered subversion, the laughable sentiment of the call to action to YouTube for increased transparency breeds an eloquent specimen of hypocrisy. The entity has witness a mass exodus of end users, as the mob has flocked to flourishing rival and Chinese-run TikTok. It is already common knowledge that the complete spectrum of major social media sites procedurally discriminate right of center groups and posts, omission driven by policy and ideology, and not standard business practices.
As the original internet was built on the liberating idea that the unregulated would result in unmitigated free speech, the anthesis has happened, with the phonebook sized ambiguous platform “Terms and Conditions” increasing exponentially to a density that defies physics. The aforementioned groups are indirectly fanning the flames of suppression, by limiting unhindered content through shaming and peer-pressure, while indirectly assaulting innovation, or meaningful exchanges, as ideas are egregiously barred before becoming hypothesis or even theory. Again, the entire scandal of hindering free speech is unfortunately based on emotion and ideology in embracing and fostering an agenda, rather than potential or merit, and the source is always considered by these minions of law enforcement policing original thought.
In pursuing transparency the fundamental requirement for fueling a functional mechanism is accountability, and with the hierarchy of the fact checking realm freewheeling with a dearth of oversight, the data consumer has to be vigilantly competent in discerning fact from fiction, not an easy task when the infrastructure of checks and balances is oversaturated by a deluge of unverified information. The phrase of the nightmarish present, “You just got fact checked,” says it all.