It’s fairly obvious that you can’t believe everything you read.
The last few years have seen an unprecedented rise in fake news largely accelerated by social media – Facebook in particular.
Amidst the revelations of high-profile security breaches and online espionage, there have been multiple accusations suggesting that Facebook has a serious fake news problem. Plans have been outlined to combat this rise in misinformation, but it seems certain posts keep slipping through the cracks.
This increasing distrust of online news outlets can make it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction; is the Earth really flat? Is doomsday actually (finally) coming this year? Is climate change just an elaborate myth fabricated by environmentalist lefties?
Despite what you might have been led to believe, the answer to all three questions is simple: no.
But there’s a viral video currently floating around Facebook which claims to have debunked the actual science behind climate change.
Luckily, The Guardian was having none of it, and subsequently launched a thorough investigation of the claims made to prove that the clip, which currently has more than 5 million views, is factually incorrect.
The video, created by known climate change-denier Marc Morano, homes in on a series of studies which reveal a 97 percent scientist consensus that human-caused global warming is real.
It's not hard to see that the evidence is currently widespread; countries such as Japan and Greece are in the midst of a heatwave so brutal that people are actually dying. The UK’s own heatwave has made headlines frequently over the last few days, sparking an official weather alert.
Yet Morano insists the aforementioned expert consensus is based on research which uses insufficient sample sizes to peddle a myth.
The Guardian acknowledges that the particular studies cited by Morano may have benefited from larger pools of experts, but the site also references a series of other statistics made up of far more expert opinions, and they all agree on a consensus somewhere between 90 per cent and 100 per cent.
In essence, Morano’s critique lacks evidence.
By contrast, the extensive research cited in The Guardian’s rebuttal proves what we all already know: the world is literally burning, yet there are still experts fighting to deny it.
The video's enormous popularity highlights the concerning fact that plenty of us aren't engaging critically with the videos we're shown; it's all too easy to idly scroll through social media and believe what we see without questioning it.
Unfortunately, that might not be enough any more; recent reports that Facebook's fake news crisis is actually worsening proves that the problem isn't going away.