WATCH ON BBC SELECT: THE LIES DROP
The Lies Drop was live between Thursday 18th March – Wednesday 24th March, check out Select More every other week to be the first to explore the latest Drop.
Every other week, BBC Select brings you a curated collection of three awe-inspiring documentaries as well as an exclusive Take on a subject from a global thinker. We unpack topical and culturally relevant themes, and offer diverse perspectives on these subjects.
This week: how do we separate fact from fiction?
- Author Malcolm Gladwell considers why humans are bad at detecting liars.
- Delve into the complex world of false endorsements and online fame in Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans.
- Learn about 200 years of fake news in Fake News – A True History
- Explore mistruths across history in American History’s Biggest Fibs.
Featured in The Lies Drop on BBC Select:
MALCOLM GLADWELL ON LIES
This week, we learn that trusting our intuition may not always be the right thing to do. Can we really spot liars? Best-selling author and thinker Malcolm Gladwell thinks not. Drawing on the work of psychologist Tim Levine, he explores why we’ve evolved to be bad at recognizing deception. Whilst noting someone’s sweaty palms and darting eyes may lead us to believe that they are lying; they may be doing just the opposite. Can we actually benefit from this human weakness in perception? How do these counter-intuitive coping strategies paradoxically help us?
Watch Malcolm Gladwell in Takes, filmed exclusively for BBC Select.
CELEBS, BRANDS, AND FAKE FANS
Want to become the biggest thing on Instagram? Fancy a following that would make a Kardashian’s eyes water? You could put the work in…. or you could pay a click farm to send your profile stratospheric. Filmmaker Chris Atkins delves into the darker side of social media marketing. He journeys to backstreet ‘click farms’ in Bangladesh where workers are hired to alter social media statistics for Western companies looking to boost their brand’s online image. In the short-term, these glossy quick wins may seem appealing, but could ironically stain a brand’s reputation for being ‘inauthentic’. Can we truly trust the popularity of a product or brand through their social media following? How can we separate real engagement from fake endorsements? Do celebrities really use fake followers? In an era where individuals are increasingly holding influencers and brands to account for their practices, perhaps these tactics aren’t so sustainable after all.
FAKE NEWS: A TRUE HISTORY
In recent years, claims of ‘fake news’ have been used to discredit genuine news outlets. But since the dawn of mass market papers ‘alternative facts’ have shifted units. British journalist and satirist Ian Hislop looks back over 200 years of fake news to probe into its evolution, impact on society, and the motivations behind it. He considers the unethical nature of misinformation whilst also finding the humour in some of the more outlandish stories. They can range from the ridiculous, such as an 1835 scoop about flying man bats on the moon, to the more sinister, with the ability to erode trust in democracy. High-brow journalism, with rigorous research undertaken, doesn’t come cheap: as Hislop remarks ‘It’s cheaper to make things up than find things out’. Today, we are exposed to startlingly believable deep-fake videos and hyper-realistic images of things that never happened. How can such levels of disinformation be curbed? And what are the free speech implications if it is?
AMERICAN HISTORY’S BIGGEST FIBS
Alternative facts aren’t new to American political history: they’re the making of it. The American Revolution, the Civil War, the American Dream: how many half-truths lie behind these moments and mottos that define America? British historian Lucy Worsley digs deep into US past, to find the cynical motives, divisions and darkness that lies behind the legends. From the Boston Tea Party through to the American War of Independence, Worsley scrutinizes the blurry details to ascertain what really happened in these events that shaped the course of history. Which version(s) can we collectively agree on, if any? Will we ever fully be able to determine false historical facts from true accounts?
Every other week, we will be exploring new topics and issues with thought-provoking takes from global thinkers. Be sure to stay up to date with the latest Takes and Drops on Select More.