With easy Internet access to the internet, we can find information we need in seconds. We have
grown accustomed to gaining knowledge with the use of search engines, and, more recently, AI
platforms. What we find, however, can often be deceiving. We often accept incorrect or
misleading material that comes across as facts.
These days, with a compelling TikTok, anyone can cosplay as an expert in a particular field.
They could be feeding us hot garbage, but we can be blinded by their professional studio set-up
and the conviction in their voice.
This happens more often than we think, especially with influencers. As their name suggests, they
are there to influence audiences, who can range from a couple hundred to millions. The larger the
follower count, the more credible they can seem and the more likely people will believe every
word that falls from their lips.
Some influencers use their large platforms to share bad information with little regard for
impact on their audience. There is the “Finance Bro” who swears if you buy his course you can
become as rich as him; or an "Insta baddie" posing in a waist trainer claiming her detox tea got
her the body she has now. Such influencers pray on the impressionable and vulnerable for
financial gain and have no issue pretending what they say are facts. Hopefully, the more time
you spend on the internet, the easier it is to see through get-rich-quick schemes or a slim-fast
Not all disinformation is malicious. Some creators share bad information innocently on the
internet that they pass off as advice. According to Arthur Brooks in his article, “Google Isnt
Grad School”, this type of behaviour falls under “the illusion of explanatory depth.” The term
describes when people are first exposed to information that they usually overestimate how
deeply they understand it. Of course, it happens to the best of us. But by recognizing the "illusion
of explanatory depth" we can improve our knowledge consumption and reduce the propensity to
spread false information ourselves.
Whether you are scrolling through Reddit, browsing YouTube or reading TikTok comments, be
alert for bad information and how easily it spreads. A good rule of thumb is that if it seems
illegitimate, chances are it probably is. Question everything and everyone, even the
“professionals” who like to parade themselves online.