Tech

Worms, the Internet and the end of reality


The screen is one weekly column devoted to everything that happens in the WIRED cultural world, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter.

Heidi Klum sprawled on the floor, prone on a red carpet that was actually blue while photographers angled their shots. It would be a traditional walk and repeat, except she could barely walk. She was covered in tubular skin folds that looked almost rough. However, when Weekly entertainment placed the microphone in front of her, her voice unmistakable as she exclaimed “I’m amazing! Nearby, her husband, musician Tom Kaulitz, was in a full fishing position, pretending to use her as bait.

This is not a fever dream. It’s a scene outside the Project Runway star’s infamous Halloween show. But it could also be a hallucination, some strange consequence of prolonged illness.

Or, at least, that’s how it felt when photos and videos of the footage went viral on social media this week, instantly becoming a meme. But really, the images themselves aren’t jarring; what is disturbing is to think that there is a chance that they are real and that they are fake. It has come to realize that what is considered “real” is an increasingly illusory thing.

Without a doubt, this line of thinking is prevalent today after Elon Musk took over Twitter. Tesla CEO Not Installed”content moderation board, but the idea that the platform could become a haven of lies and deceit is still big. Every tweet now has a grain of salt. That worm is smiling at a ET microphone can be a 4chan meme as easily as it is one of the most famous models in the world.

People have been testing the boundaries of what can be said. Such as #TrumpIsDead. As Musk settled into life at Twitter this week, users on the platform began spreading rumors that the former president had passed away, in an apparent attempt to expose misinformation and conspiracy theories. how easily it can go viral under Musk’s watch. The hoax didn’t fool the news agencies, but #TrumpIsDead went mainstream, leading to Twitter Events and at least one fact-checking report from Reuters about a deceptive CNN headline.

#TrumpIsDead is the most obvious example, something that is easily proven or disproved through countless sources. Truly nefarious misinformation is petty lies that seem just close enough to reality to drag you in. It’s the conspiracy theories that turn disbelievers into fanatics and mess with the gut instincts of even the most genuine and tried-and-true skeptics. Exact connections can be lost over time, but it looks like #TrumpIsDead has started to trend in response to Elon Musk tweeting (then deleting) an article full of baseless rumors about his life. attacked the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi.

Perhaps even more astonishing than Musk sharing that article was the line he posted next to it, in a reply to Hillary Clinton: “There’s a very small chance that there might be more to this story than it looks. see eyes.” This is an old trick. Sow enough doubt and people will start to wonder about their own hair color. When everything on a platform is like maybe two or three clicks away from the truth, what is even real? What happens when the person running the platform you are using is an “I was just asking a question” person?

But really, asking more questions is something people should do. After Musk’s tweet, New Yorkers Writer Jay Caspian Kang published a story about the online quest to politically label Paul Pelosi’s alleged attacker David DePape. In the days following the incident, internet detectives searched his online history for clues about his affiliates. Some say he’s on the right, others say he’s “on the left”. Kang, however, takes a different view, noting that often the link between political rhetoric or mental health and acts of violence has little to do with what actually happened. out. Usually, people look online for the truth, but all that matters is what they believe.

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