Truth is Money
I’m a writer. I’m a reader. I like journalism and truth, and I am in need of money.
The ad was exquisitely targeted — a perfect storm of Facebook’s algorithm and every click tracker and search engine data merchant all coming together to put two sentences in front of my eyes.
END FAKE NEWS. MAKE MONEY.
Well, why not? After all, I’ve just about worn out my Snopes bookmark these past two years. I link to legitimate sources so much that people have started complaining that I “just can’t take anything on faith.”
And I need money.
I clicked the link.
(Damn my eyes! That went straight into the algorithm, didn’t it? I’ll be seeing more of the same from here until Doomsday.)
It’s a small start-up. Scrappy. Young. They’re looking for people to test their new system. My eyes scan the text and I don’t see the word “blockchain” anywhere. I don’t know how to feel about that. On the one hand, I don’t have to wrestle with my deep-seated suspicion of cryptocurrencies. On the other, can you really trust a start-up that doesn’t include the most obvious bit of venture capitalist-bait ever created?
So I read deeper.
The system is simple. You have points. You purchase these points with dollars. Later, you can turn these points back into dollars, which is probably the most important part of the whole process.
How do you make more points, which equates to making more money? Ah! That’s the beauty of the system.
See, they give you news stories. You pick the stories you’re interested in. You read the stories.
And then you vote.
On whether or not you believe the story is true.
And how much do you believe the story is true? Do you only kinda believe? Do you believe whole-heartedly? Do you super mega ultra doubleplusgood believe?
The more confident you are that the story is fake or true, the more money you stake on it.
And at the end of voting — voting! — the truth is determined by which one got the most votes. Filtered through an algorithm, which is almost but not quite as hot a buzzword with venture capitalists as “blockchain.”
And that’s it. The story’s truth is determined on how confident people are in its truth or falsehood, and they show that confidence by betting more money. The winners get a prize pool based on how much money the losers foolishly bet, and in this way truth is established.
Because, listen, it’s in their best interests to vote with the truth! Because more people will listen to the truth.
Because never in the history of mankind has anybody ever used money to try to influence belief.
Because objective truth is a thing that we feel in our hearts and support with our pocketbooks, not a thing that can be proven with dedicated research and supported with proper sourcing.
I hate to say this, guys.
But there’s a slight possibility that capitalism and its bastard child monetization are not the answers to every question.
If you feel that I’m wrong about this, please vote against the validity of my experience.
I accept “no” votes via PayPal, Square, Dwolla, and Patreon pledges.