Yesterday, a number of outlets and tech journalists reported on a new Twitter campaign called “Don’t Believe Every Tweet.” It had an account, a series of polished, gently comedic videos, and a a website with a quote from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that offered “a simple reminder to be skeptical of everything you see on Twitter because our users can put literally anything in a tweet.” In a pledge on the site, users agreed to “be skeptical of all claims and never assume something is true just because it appears to reinforce views I already hold.”
It was easy to overlook the myriad red flags—the statement ends with a note about the ad “airing on FOX News in the next few days because duh”—due to the platform’s current struggles with the moderation of hate speech and proliferation of conspiracy theories. Those struggles have been epitomized of late by Twitter’s bizarrely stubborn refusal to ban Alex Jones and his Infowars network, who have a long, storied history of spreading lies that directly impact innocent victims, such as the parents of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
But, as a closer look at the campaign makes clear, it’s just another plop of fake news in a swamp of it, albeit a satirical one. As Variety reports, the scheme was cooked up by an out-of-work TV writer named Nathan Gotsch, who apparently just wanted to “get noticed by the entertainment industry with the stunt.” Well, considering all it takes to get noticed on Twitter is to loudly declare something demonstrably false as true, he’s definitely on the right track.
Gotsch wrote and directed the accompanying videos, which feature slovenly comedian Greg Barris positing himself as an expert on various topics while spitting a litany of absurdities. Gotsch says he’s been contacted by a few producers interested in “developing something” around the character, so, if you’ve been hankering for a lighthearted comedy about a Mike Cernovich type, you’re in luck.