Using charts to misinform and fool people

➑️ π•Œπ•€π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ 𝕔𝕙𝕒𝕣π•₯𝕀 π•₯𝕠 π•žπ•šπ•€π•π•–π•’π•• π•’π•Ÿπ•• 𝕗𝕠𝕠𝕝 𝕑𝕖𝕠𝕑𝕝𝕖 — Most of us struggle with making sense of numbers and data. Charts are the most common method of making numerical data understandable. Like all tools, they can be used for education just as well as for misinformation. Here’s a common example of how bar graphs can manipulate the viewer’s judgment.

βœ… Key words:Β charts, statistics, misinformation, data

πŸ†€πŸ†„πŸ…ΎπŸ†ƒπŸ…΄πŸ†‚
πŸ’¬ “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.” β€” Andrew Lang
πŸ’¬ “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” β€” Mark Twain, who also said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics” — which he in turn attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, the British politician.
πŸ’¬ “Sanity is not statistical.” β€” George Orwell (1984)
πŸ’¬ “Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death.” β€” Amie Kaufman

Confirmation bias

Key words: bias, confirmation bias, cognition, tunnel vision, echo chamber


ABOUT THIS SERIES OF CARDS: “Men follow their sentiments and their self-interest, but it pleases them to imagine that they follow reason. And so they look for, and always find, some theory which, a posteriori, makes their actions appear to be logical.” β€” Vilfredo Pareto

Parkinson’s Law of Triviality

Key words:Β Parkinson triviality law meetings timeΒ 


ABOUT THIS SERIES OF CARDS: “Men follow their sentiments and their self-interest, but it pleases them to imagine that they follow reason. And so they look for, and always find, some theory which, a posteriori, makes their actions appear to be logical.” β€” Vilfredo Pareto

The Peter Principle

Key words: Peter principle, hierarchy, incompetence, bureaucracy, management


ABOUT THIS SERIES OF CARDS: “Men follow their sentiments and their self-interest, but it pleases them to imagine that they follow reason. And so they look for, and always find, some theory which, a posteriori, makes their actions appear to be logical.” β€” Vilfredo Pareto

The sunk cost fallacy

Key words:Β sunk cost, fallacy, bias, loss, aversion behaviour


ABOUT THIS SERIES OF CARDS: “Men follow their sentiments and their self-interest, but it pleases them to imagine that they follow reason. And so they look for, and always find, some theory which, a posteriori, makes their actions appear to be logical.” β€” Vilfredo Pareto

Why is disinformation so pervasive and what can we do about it?

Key words: information, disinformation, truth, fake news, media, internet


Distortion of the truth, giving it a spin or angle, has been going on through all of history. But, it has never been so easy to spread misinformation and lies, widely and quickly, as is possible in the age of the Internet.

➑️ Backstory:Β Governments, organisations and individuals are flooding the world’s media with disinformation or malicious content. Writing in The Conversation, Matthieu O’Neil points out that the goal is profit or gaining a strategic advantage. Why has this come about?

βœ…Β Here are the take home messages that O’Neil gives us.

➑️ Main idea: 3 possible reasons can account for this situation.

  1. The mainstream media has lost its credibility. People distrust these traditional sources of authority and are quick to latch onto poorly substantiated reports.
  2. Social media, the dominant tool for misinformation, focuses on engagement rather than the truth. They promote shocking claims and news that generate anger. There is little attempt at verifying the truth.
    Studies show that “fake news” spread further, faster and deeper than the truth.
  3. Disinformation tactics are deliberately engineered by agencies with the intent of creating disruption and polarisation in society. Subtle, subversive propaganda is pushed without being overtly false.

➑️ Call to action: O’Neil suggests Wikipedia as a single, most easily accessible tool for protecting ourselves. When you come across a dubious claim, open Wikipedia and check.

There are many other sites on the web that specifically combat this problem. Search Google using this term: “fact checking sites” for some popular utilities.


Read the article.