Jesus is English? No, not really. That was a test. If you’re reading this, you’ve passed. Well done. If not, this article is about you. If you’re reading it for the second time, well done again. You passed with honours.

A recent study conducted by Columbia University and the French National Institute showed that 59 percent of the links shared on social media have never actually been clicked.

Which basically means that the majority of stuff shared on sites such as Facebook and Twitter is done so without the person doing the sharing actually having any idea what the content is.

What’s the harm, you may ask? Well a study coming out of Oxford university earlier this year showed that the 18-24 demographic specify “social media” as its main source of news, overtaking mainstream media such as television news.

The study also showed that people in the UK are more likely to share stories about things they don’t like.

Suddenly it’s not so difficult to understand how Facebook pages like Britain First and EDL are growing in popularity. It goes like this:

Someone sees a headline on Facebook. Let’s say it casts muslims in a negative light. Now this person doesn’t like muslims, mostly through their own ignorance and their generally bigoted world view. So that person reads the headline, and it strikes a chord, so they share it. Without reading the article. Ten of their friends have the same reaction to the headline, and they hit share. And so on.

If 100 people share the link, the study suggests that 59 of those people won’t have read the article. Just the headline.

This would go some way to explaining why it’s so easy to bamboozle a racist in conversation, as the majority don’t have any actual knowledge to rely on. All they have is the bile and hatred in their cold black hearts, which allow them to spew forth soundbites like ‘take are country back’ and ‘coming over here taking are jobs’, all the while mistakenly thinking they are contributing something to the discussion.

Yet another study coming out of McMaster University – yes that’s a real place, I Googled it, it’s in Canada – is suggesting that excessive use of social media is contributing to a rise in mental health issues. Make of that what you will.

Cornell university recently released details of a study that suggested that the use of social media was beneficial to memory though, so it’s not all bad.

So while the use of social media for sharing news may be contributing to the rise of racists and bigots, at least they’re more likely to remember to send Great Aunt Beryl a card on her birthday this year. Silver linings and all that…

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