Most of us constantly get different convincing audio and video clips in our whatsapp inbox:
Why are they so convincing? It’s quite often a harsh grating voice of a politician and with cleverly worked out fictitious facts and figures, convincingly padded and parceled into believable packages, the audio goes viral!
What didn’t we do, before forwarding the same to friends? We didn’t verify facts, we didn’t think with a discerning mind! No, instead gleefully we ran to grasp, hold and spread what the man so glibly lied about.
I’ve been called as a guest speaker in the last few months to speak on Fake News vs Breaking News. The gist of what I say is that today in our whatsapp and email forwards we play the role of editors, with each of us having followers who believe in our credibility, which puts a huge responsibility on our heads, doesn’t it?
Carry your phone with you and let’s go for a walk, shall we? Let’s visit old Socrates for a few moments! “Socrates!” you shout, “Do you know what I just heard on an audio in my whatsapp?”
“Hold on a minute,” Socrates says to you. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you just heard and are going to forward is true?”
“No,” you say rather reluctantly, “actually it was forwarded to me!”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So, you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of goodness. Is what you are about to forward something good to hear or read?”
“No, on the contrary…” you stammer.
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to forward something bad and you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of usefulness. Is what you want to forward going to be useful to the people in those floods?”
“No not really …” you say.
“Well,” concludes Socrates, “if what you want to forward is neither true nor good nor even useful, why forward it at all?”
“Thanks Socrates!” I tell him as we scramble back to the present.
“Bye!” shouts the sage, “And Bob, do ask the world if it’s true, good or useful, before they forward anything from now on ..!”
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