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Brexit: A Beautiful Lie.

Updated: Jul 31

By Joanne Huxtable

In 2016, the announcement of Brexit in the UK was broadcast on every news channel worldwide. The months of arguing were finally worth it for 52% of the voting Country, and the devastating realisation hit 48% per cent painfully between the eyes.

It was over, and we were out.

In the run-up to what was a painful time for me, I would get involved in all sorts of online arguments, I fell out with people whom I usually got on with when I met face to face, and people removed me from their Facebook page because they disagreed with my beliefs.

The world of social media was a mess, and people were losing friends like a running tap. Families were falling out, people were getting into spats on Facebook and Twitter, and MPs were being murdered in the streets.

Whichever side of the fence you sit on, there is no denying that Brexit was sold on lies.

That big red bus with the words, "We send the EU £350 million a week; let's fund our NHS instead".

People like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson knew this money wouldn't be used for the NHS. The NHS would be thriving now if the promised money had been delivered, so how did they get away with it?

With a little help from their influential friends at the red tops, a clever man called Dominic Cummings, and the lack of regulation of social media, they were able to whip up a political storm in favour of themselves.

Of course, those on the opposite side made attempts to ridicule their outright lies, but there were no responses because their social media is used as a tool to spread their narrative. There were no attempts to quash any misinformation or engage in healthy debates.

It wasn't just the leave campaign that fabricated the truth; the remain campaign was also guilty, which strengthened the beliefs of each side that they were correct.

A sitting MP should be held accountable for the content they put out on social media.

They are given a handbook detailing the pros, cons and what is and isn't acceptable. Full details of the handbook can be found here. Aside from a few requests to remove tweets, a regulatory board doesn't seem to monitor their behaviour.

This situation is very dangerous because it allows extremists to believe they can say what they like without consequence and stir up more hatred for the cause.

In a speech by David Cameron, he described "the internet" as an "amazing pollinator" that "turns lonely fights into mass campaigns, transforms moans into movements, excites the attentions of hundreds, thousands, millions of people and stirs them into action."

The words used by Cameron are very powerful, "fight, stir, mass". The fight between Leave and remain was undoubtedly stirred up by the toxic environment of social media. Masses of people campaigned on both sides, and fake news was allowed to be shared on the platforms.

Those previously uninterested in politics now saw and shared factually incorrect memes and headlines. Many would not fact-check before sharing, which is precisely what the campaigns intended.

Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. Now that the political parties have discovered ways to infiltrate these platforms with their agendas, truthful or not, this political unrest will continue. It is up to us to ensure what we share is correct; by not doing so, we add to this divide and play our part in this circus.

Politics should be biased towards their side of the cause, but they should also be held accountable by a neutral body. Until this happens, politics will always be a subject that should be taken lightly on social media platforms.

Seven years ago, I was vocal about my side of the fence until I realised that it doesn't matter how loud you shout or how hard you believe, there will always be lies and arguments, and sometimes, you can't win against a lie, no matter how wrong it is; you just need to step out of the show and let what will be, be.

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