Social media viral nonsense and the story that never ends

Social media viral nonsense and the story that never ends

Spread the love

FakeFBPhotoTL;DR Summary

  • Photo purports to show the ejection of a USAF Thunderbird pilot in Smyrna, TN in early June 2016. This photo had, in moments, been shared nearly 8,000 times on FB.
  • The photo is actually from a USAF crash in Mountain Home, ID in 2003 and the photo was taken by a USAF Airman. You can read about that actual incident here.
  • No one questioned the truthfulness of the photo – yet it took just seconds to locate the source of the photo.

Our Facebook news feed is filled, every day, with nonsense posts that few question, but instead, pass on to their friends. Soon, everyone’s news feed is filled with untrue nonsense that lives forever!

Here is an enlargement of the post’s text description. Note how the caption falsely asserts this is from Colorado in June 2016 and then note the false attribution to iStock/Thinkstock and the actual news report quote. These elements add authenticity by asserting an untrue fact about the photo (the photo is really from 2003) and adding an appeal to authority by mentioning stock photo agencies and quoting ABC News.


This item is is not propaganda, in the sense that it is attempting to persuade a target to take action.

But the post illustrates the vacuous waste land that Facebook has become. If you are thinking I’m a bit down on Facebook, you’d be correct! I stopped reading my timeline on FB five weeks ago, concluding that FB has become, sadly, a waste of time.

The original idea for FB and other social media was for individuals to post and share their own content, including comments, thoughts, photos and what not, today, about 75% of items posted are “shared” where the content is created by someone else. The effect is those who create the content are (often) propagandists and FB users are the friction-less conduit that spreads propaganda to many more people, who then share, in an endless cycle. Posters like the above take on a life of their own and will be re-shared again years in to the future as facts!

Once these items go online, they tend to stay online forever. Which means the Internet is gradually turning into a vast wasteland of untrue news reports, posts and manipulated photos!

Text for Search Engines

Air Force F-16 Thunderbird Crashes Near Colorado Springs, Pilot Ejects Safely

June 2, 2016

Courtesy iStock/Thickstock(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) – A U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16 crashed just outside Peteresen Air Force Base in Colorado Springs shortly after performing a flyover at the nearby Air Force Academy graduation, where President Obama was in attendance, the Air Force tells ABC News.


One thought on “Social media viral nonsense and the story that never ends

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.