In the wake of Donald Trump’s victory last week, we need a voice of reason like John Oliver’s more than ever right now, and John Oliver wasted no time in describing precisely how fucked we are in Trump’s America—a version of this country in which everything is made up and facts don’t matter.
In particular, Oliver points out how much social media swayed this past election in Trump’s favor. When 62 percent of Americans get their news from social media, and a huge swath of what circulates on social platforms is demonstrably false, the electorate is no longer sure what qualifies as factual.
He also cites research from Buzzfeed news which showed that 38 percent of right-leaning news stories and 19 percent of left-leaning news stories on Facebook contained inaccuracies or falsehoods. (Mark Zuckerberg, for his part, has already claimed that fake news on Facebook was no big deal.) Even for voters trying their best to avoid the online “filter bubble” of ideological reinforcement that many of us live in, that’s a lot of lies to sift through. Most of us don’t have free time to fact-check.
Many publications have come to the conclusion that social media—and Facebook, in particular—had an undeniable and likely deleterious effect on this election’s outcome. Oliver takes it one step further. “Weird conspiracy bullshit has always been bubbling under the surface, but Trump was the first major candidate to harness and fully legitimize it,” he says, citing many examples of the President-elect willfully sharing misinformation over social media and using its reach to lend his words credence.