A few years ago, I was watching a particular event unfold real-time on TV. One of the biggest stories of that year.
I got an idea while watching.
I wrote a long conspiracy theory about the event and posted it on Reddit that same afternoon.
It was completely false. I made up details, and I pretended to be someone I’m not.
A few days later, I logged back in to see how the post performed. More than 20,000 viewers. 300+ comments. It became one of the most popular posts of that month on r/conspiracy.
In the following weeks, I saw my “conspiracy theory” referenced on major news outlets (even on CNN). People were debating its merit on various forums. Versions of it went viral on Facebook. Some well-known pundits claimed it as their own, using particular details that I literally came up with on-the-spot.
Today, that conspiracy theory is in the “mainstream” of alternative perspectives on this event. It’s been shared and referenced thousands of times. “Experts” have discussed it publicly, and (I truly believe) millions of people believe that my story is the actual truth of what happened on that day.
It was 100% made-up. I’m being 100% serious.
Remember this next time you see something online that you aren’t able to independently verify.
“Falsehood is easy, truth so difficult.”