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The Scoop - Seeking truth on social media
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I caught the winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl 15 years ago. There was :03 left on the clock when Tom Brady found me in the corner of the endzone and I snagged the winning TD over three defenders.

Question: "But Mr. Clark, records show you've never played pro football and certainly never played in a Super Bowl."

My response: "You hush your mouth. You're nothing more than fake news!"

Question 2: "But Mr. Clark, I have the video from that Super Bowl right here on my phone. You clearly did not catch the winning TD."

My response: "You are an embarrassment to yourself and the entire country. Get out of my face and go sit in the back of the room!"

Of course my story of catching a pass in the Super Bowl is totally outrageous. But if there's one thing I've learned from casually watching politics over the past 3-4 years it's that telling the truth is completely optional. 

I found it amusing that President Donald Trump unloaded on Twitter on Wednesday because, for the first time, Twitter added a fact check to two of his tweets. For a man used to saying whatever he wants, regardless of its accuracy, this didn't sit well with the president.

It didn't take long for Mr. Trump to say Twitter was trying to "silence" his voice. By midday Wednesday, the bandwagon was really rolling and Twitter was being accused of trampling the First Amendment and our freedom of speech.

For me, this raises timely questions about the limits of free speech, which is obviously not absolute.

I may have freedom of speech, but if I tell a guy I'm going to shoot him in the gut, that's not freedom of speech. It's a threat.

I may have freedom of speech, but if I call someone every day on the phone and insult them that's not freedom of speech. It's harassment.

So clearly there are limits to freedom of speech. Phoning in a bomb threat comes to mind.

But what about the slippery slope of social media? Our Founding Fathers were wise, but I don't think any of them could have foreseen the Facebook rant.

The big question at play here, the Bigfoot-sized issue, is what should be done about knowingly spreading false information on social media. Some people have shown they have no reservations about this.

I never caught the winning TD in the Super Bowl and I'm happy to clarify that wrongful statement. Unfortunately, some folks never correct their misstatements.

Putting a fact check on a Twitter post doesn't violate anyone's freedom of speech. It's a welcome addition to give readers fair warning the information may need further review. 

If the goal is accuracy, which it should be, this new Twitter feature should be embraced, not criticized. Everyone should make an effort to post and distribute information that's reliable. For people who are doing this, a fact checker should not be a problem or a reason to complain.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.