Halifax — A new report by Statistics Atlantic has revealed that almost all your Facebook friends’ long-winded statuses about funny conversations they had or unlikely events that happened to them are complete bullshit.
Researchers fact-checked hundreds of these statuses to find that they were mostly made up to get attention.
“A good example is when a parent comes up with this complex and too-intelligent conversation that their four-year-old child supposedly initiated. It’s supposed to come off as funny and cute, but also to subtly brag about how smart their kid is. Those stories? Nearly always fake,” said researcher Byron Haines of Dartmouth.
“Somehow I doubt your little brat who’s still toilet training said, ‘You know what Mommy? You’re the best, and I know you’re trying your hardest, and even when I act ungrateful, I truly appreciate all that you are.’
“But the Facebook friend writes it in a long status, with the tag ‘feeling humbled,’ and people just eat it up. It traps the author of the status in this constant praise-loop where the stories have to get crazier and crazier to get the same positive reaction from friends.”
Haines and his team checked the veracity of many statuses that were meant to elicit sympathy or outright praise — and these were the most fraudulent of all.
“I’m not talking about people reporting on a genuine tragedy in their lives or celebrating a real accomplishment,” he clarified, “I mean these bullcrap stories meant to make the writer come off as a hero or martyr, like if the poster supposedly defended someone who was getting talked down to and ended up getting insulted in the process…or saying they couldn’t really afford it but they decided to help out a homeless person in need — it just so obviously didn’t happen.
“And you know, it’s pretty hard to take seriously when it’s full of misspellings and emojis, and way too many impossible details.”
Haines went on to say that while most Facebook friends can’t see through the nonsense and actually encourage it, a few can spot it right away.
“Yeah…there’s no way that happened,” Haligonian Jeff Peters muttered to himself upon skimming his Facebook connection Sarah Prestley’s tale about rising above being mistreated at the coffee shop where she works.
The status went as follows:
“As you all know I tend to avoid confrontation. But this time, I finally had enough. At work today my manager asked me to work a longer shift to cover for another girl who’s out sick, even though I had booked off the evening for a date night with Mark. I told my manager that enough is enough, I’m not working tonight, and if he tried to make me, I would quit right then and there. He retorted that there’s no way I would have ‘the balls’ to do that, and I’d always be a failure, just like my little brother who died of an overdose two years ago. So I spat right in his face. He immediately looked surprised, then smiled, and said that no one has ever been brave enough to do that to him until now. He then apologized profusely and said that I’m an integral part of the team. He also said that after witnessing my bravery, I might be in line for a promotion to supervisor position! And I’m getting a raise. Looks like this girl’s movin’ on up!!!”
Peters said the annoying thing about it is that the status got well over 200 “reactions,” dozens of comments praising Prestley and telling her she’s “amazing” and “strong,” and scores of “shares” — all for an event that clearly did not occur.
“God, this’ll only encourage her. She’ll probably be on the local news tonight raving about it, too. Even though it didn’t happen.”