A Faked Future: Do We Risk Seeing History Getting Rewritten?

January 22, 2023

Is it possible to rewrite history? As we become more reliant on digital technology, some are concerned that the line between what’s real and what’s fake becomes blurred.

Photo by Nijwam Swargiary on Unsplash

One of George Orwell’s most famous lines in 1984 reads;

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them.”

It’s an interesting concept, and there’s perhaps one that’s sparked a little confusion as you read it. It’s a concept we, as people, seem to have some kind of understanding of, but also the whole idea seems foggy at the edges.

Interestingly, that could be a great example of Doublethink in itself.

However, the concept feels unsettlingly relevant today for a book written over 80 years ago. So does the entire book for that matter, especially when it comes to the risk of living in a fake future.

It’s what we’re talking about today, so let’s get into it.

Where are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?

When learning about the world, its events, and the people in it, we used to rely on print media as our main source of information. Journalists worked hard to seek the truth and report it to the public.

And it does exist.

Back in 2011, The Guardian newspaper investigated and broadcast a story about the News of the World media empire, run by Rupert Murdoch, who had been hacking phones to gain sensitive information in which to get stories.

The news led to the empire of 168 years being shut down after a UK government inquiry and police investigations.

This is the power that journalism can have in the world. 

And it’s a beautiful thing. Information and stories like this can bring corruption and evil into the limelight, but the very light of information has also become its darkest angle.

In today’s digital age, information is much easier to manipulate and alter than ever before.

It’s a problem we see time and time again.

We see publications owned by nefarious characters that define the narratives they want the world to follow. Influencers and people with followers state opinions as facts on Twitter and Facebook, leading to real-world consequences.

In India, in 2018, viral WhatsApp messages circulated the country showing videos and images of mutilated children being taken by kidnappers who were loose across the state.

Terrified and fearful for their children’s lives, parents, families, and communities banded together to take down the kidnappers, keep their children locked up at home, and mob arrests anyone who looked suspicious.

It sounds righteous, but it was all founded on fake news.

As it turns out, the images and videos being circulated were faked, photoshopped, and manipulated. On edge and concerned, travelers looking for directions and foreigners were believed to be kidnappers when they were in fact just passersby.

Over two dozen people were lynched in India because of these messages, beaten to death for no reason other than people were believing what they read on their smartphones.

Where these messages come from, no one seems to know.

Therefore, there are seemingly no consequences for those continuously driving this issue.

This isn’t just happening in India. 

It happens in the UK, Europe, and the United States.

We are all aware of what it was like during Trump’s presidency. Regardless of your political stance, fake news was everywhere and was being talked about all the time.

This was also evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, where you could find news, blog posts, and articles declaring what was good and what was bad.

You could easily find pro or anti-mask reports. You could find information that vaccines were effective or not. Whether they caused side effects, or not. That they had trackers inside them or not. 

And with so much information on all sides constantly coming from all directions, this is clearly leading to severe issues regarding information.

Just like in India, if something is taken as fact, even when it’s not, and is believed by the mass population, then our history will be written by fake news, a history that will act as the solid foundation of our future.

What’s more, with technology advancing rapidly, AI technology and content generation running rampant, virtual reality and Metaverse on the horizon, and social media more integrated than ever, we are running the risk of a “faked future” where anyone with enough skill and access to powerful tools can rewrite history.

The Foundation of Fake News

Fake news has become unfortunately ubiquitous in recent times.

I could write that fossil fuels are extremely efficient and far more cost-effective than any other type of fuel, renewable or otherwise. While they’re not unrenewable, they’re certainly an amazing resource that we should use.

However, fossil fuels are devastating to the planet and contribute to destroying our ecosystems, health, and environments.

Now we can see that fossil fuels are really good and we should use them, but they are also really bad, so we should avoid them.

That’s Doublethink.

Using this as a foundation, we know in a place where we’re capable of believing two forms of reality. Fossil fuels are good, and fossil fuels are bad.

We’re on the fence, and our minds aren’t made up.

This is where those who want to manipulate the masses want people to be because they can introduce new information that can sway you from one side to the other.

This was how the Cambridge Analytica scandal was so successful in its political campaigns.

Now let’s imagine a Tweet goes out saying how Exxon, one of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, agreed that the fossil industry was pushing climate change, but behind closed doors, they were working a campaign to actively convince the public they had nothing to do with it.

This happened.

Again, fake statements in one place while an opposite reality is happening in another. 

And we’re back where we started.

Exxon is actively admitting that fossil fuels are harmful. Exxon is actively trying to put propaganda into the world that says fossil fuels aren’t harmful to the climate.

Before the digital age, it was much harder to spread false information and easier to identify such sources of untruths because print media such as books, newspapers, and magazines had longer lead times and undertook some fact-checking. 

However, with the rise of accessible digital communication tools such as social media platforms on a global scale, falsities have been mass-propagated more easily than ever before without necessary checks in place. 

One person can Tweet one statement, which could be nothing more than a fleeting thought, and it can be seen by millions of people worldwide.

Stocks can literally crash and lose millions of dollars on 140 characters.

This has real-world effects, yet nobody seems to be penalized for it. It just keeps happening over and over again, more and more, even other the most trivial topics.

Again, this is the future we’re building our society on.

The Implications of Fake News

Fake news has become a growing problem in our society, with the rapid rise of social media and the decline of print. This trend can particularly damage young people as they’re more likely to rely on digital information.

This is being proven time and time again as it’s leading to misinformed beliefs and poor decision-making, which can have serious consequences for our future generations.

Also, if people do not have access to reliable information sources such as print or newspaper publishers, then there is a risk of history being distorted. 

All of this underscores the importance for people of all ages to remain informed about events in their world by fact-checking and going beyond digital content to fully understand what’s happening.

How to Combat Fake News

So, bringing all this together, what can we do to combat fake news and promote accurate information?

After all, in an era where more and more people rely upon the internet for their news and information, it’s increasingly important to develop tools to combat fake news. 

Firstly, there’s clearly a need to prioritize accuracy over speed of publication by encouraging organizations to verify facts before sharing them online; fact-checkers, librarians, and editors can play a vital role in helping to publish truth instead of fiction. 

This also means taking note of where information is coming from, who has created or adapted it, and what the purpose behind the content is.

Additionally, teaching critical thinking skills to young people can empower them to evaluate the veracity of sources and encourage them to seek out reputable news sources.

Using services like decentralized public libraries can also be incredibly helpful when sharing information from reputable, accurate, and widely accepted sources. 

Finally, we need government regulation that holds misinformation providers accountable so that they do not propagate false information. 

The future must embrace evidence-based reporting while avoiding the pitfalls of ‘alternative facts’: unless clear measures are taken now, and in the coming years, history could be put at risk due to our collective ignorance.


In conclusion, the information age has brought opportunities and challenges. We have more access to news and content than ever before, but at the same time, more false narrative and intentional misrepresentations.

It’s up to us to stay mindful of the information we consume and make sure we are making decisions based on facts, not opinions. 

As we look at how news sources evolve, it is important to recognize that print remains reliable for contextual accuracy and unbiased reporting of facts. 

The internet may provide access to numerous perspectives from various angles, but we must be diligent in ensuring that what we’re reading is accurate. 

After all, this generation will bear the responsibility of leaving permanent marks in history moving forward – let’s make sure those marks reflect the truth.