When adults use social media to spread lies and call it ‘opinion’ …

It is sometimes stunning that there are adult human beings who do not know the difference between an opinion and matters of facts.

One possesses an opinion: “I hate the summer months.”

One cannot possess an opinion, “I hate the summer months because it snows too much.” The simple truth is this is a factually incorrect statement, provable beyond reasonable doubt.

Why this example? Well, we’re trying our level best to be kind and to illustrate the difference between facts and opinions, an art that is completely lost by so many in 2022. 

And it’s also to demonstrate the First Amendment, while protecting our ability to feel one way or another about just about anything, has its limitations.

You may say, without hesitation, “I hate Joe Smith.” You may not say, “Joe Smith is a convicted felon” when he isn’t.

This all leads to social media, where countless people still think they have the absolute right to say whatever they want about whomever they want — without consequence.

We’ve seen it so many times in the last decade, it would include enough material for an entire hardcover book. It’s out of control. It’s unacceptable. And it has to stop.

And it is why we were pleased to see a local business owner serve a cease and desist letter to another private citizen last week who used to social media to share the business owner’s home address without his permission.

Words have consequences. And for far too long, places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms have become cesspools for lies, fallacies and a complete and utter disregard for the truth. 

We could almost understand this situation were children involved. Kids say the darndest things, don’t they? But we’re talking adults here, folks, and it’s time adults cut the nonsense and act more responsibly online, before it’s too late and your next comments are about your appearance in court.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.