Last year Tim Berners-Lee, the eccentric creator of the world wide web, expressed a concern that his creation was turning into a breeding ground for conspiracy theories, rumors and misinformation. He is advocating for a verification system that I can’t quite understand, which would show if information comes from reliable sources.
The problem with slagging off conspiracy theories is that it’s very hard to draw a line between conspiracy and scepticism.
That is of course, unless those theories are based on phony statistics like the one I have posted here. Last week Tim Harford author of The Undercover Economist used a large slot of his Radio 4 programme More or Less, to show how the stats in this video are made up or at best logically implausible given what we do know. The BBC have now posted their own little riposte – but for every time it has been viewed the original video has been viewed 2,198 times. I’m not sure about Time Berners-Lee’s system but I think that youtube should definitely feature this type of video – a bit like how newspapers do ‘errors and omissions’.