It has become common for political activists to demand that social media engage in bans and content warnings, because the other side is too stupid to know false facts from the real kind. In reality, everyone who takes their politics too seriously is inclined to believe the worst when it comes to others, and calling for bans is more of a patronizing way to pretend they care about discourse when they most just want to control it.

This has led to companies like Facebook and Twitter either outright censoring some content or putting nonsensical fact checking warning labels on it. Here is a case in point from our own Facebook page:

Here is what it was ridiculing:

The woman is clearly perimenopausal but blames a vaccine and got some jeering. Facebook slapped a warning on it saying that fact checkers had found it untrue. Which part? That she is perimenopausal? No, their system knew her claim that a COVID-19 can cause her period to be interrupted was stupid but because the system they created is just as stupid they flagged our post making fun of her for saying it.

Would have human have made that error?  Of course not. A recent experiment shows that ordinary people are just as good as those who claim to be 'fact checkers', even when they are manipulating Facebook algorithms from the inside.

The reason is due to the "wisdom of crowds" - if I ask a famous scientist or mathematician to calculate how many jelly beans are in a jar, most won't be close, but if I ask 100 people and average the results out, they will be so close it is spooky.

In this study, even a small pool of 10-15 people were able to spot fake news in 200 news items that Facebook’s algorithms had flagged for review. These were just regular people, not media outlets preaching how they are professional fact checkers. They did no research.

If 10 people can recognize fake news, it may be unnecessary for Facebook and Twitter to pick winners and losers in culture. Because that introduces their bias. It only takes one employee on a quest to impose ideological purity or everyone else to get people they happen not like banned - and to ruin trust in their brand. These companies should want four members, two Republicans and two Democrats, not two Democrats. I don't like Mike Adams, he is an Organic-Food Supplement-Selling Anti-Vaxxer, but I am not a social authoritarian progressive so I am not on a mission to get him no-platformed and canceled because he's an idiot duping other idiots.

Yes, he is an idiot, but let's allow the public to see he is an idiot and ridicule him and get a little smarter doing it.

The take home message is that people are smarter than elites give them credit for being.

Not everyone believes in the wisdom of crowds, though. As "Men In Black" contrarians - who were absolutely social authoritarians and even erased the memories of people who saw what they were doing - elegantly put it: