The need to exercise critical faculties before forwarding information

Posted on January 1, 2016  /  0 Comments

I received this as a forwarded email with no comments from a person who is influential in the ICT space.

The Indian smartphone market made a 0.7 percent increase from September to October, vaulting the nation over the 1 billion user threshold to 1.03 billion users. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India just released this information yesterday, making India the second country in the world to reach this milestone.

India has 1.2 billion people. The Minister sent out a tweet saying the number of active SIMs had reached the 1 billion threshold.

Even this claim, I take with a grain of salt, because Ministers and the people who supply information to them are more intent on showing good results than in the truth. And most everyone knows that not all SIMs are inside phones, even if India is a good market for dual and triple SIM devices. Most people who actually do the hard work of keeping themselves informed of what’s happening in the ICT space know that smartphones are still used only by a small percentage of owners/subscribers. We have been saying that Myanmar is very unusual in having over 60 percent of subscribers using smartphones. And they are not dragged down by legacy effects. They do not have to dispose of a feature phone in order to buy a smartphone. So an optimistic estimation would be that India has 200-300 million smartphones in use at this time.

Only a complete idiot would translate the Minister’s claim into one billion smartphones. But what would one call a person who forwards without comment the idiot’s BS?

There are two possible explanations. Given it’s the morning of the first day of 2016 where I am, I will start with the charitable one. The influential person knew this was a load of bull manure but was too lazy to either call it out or direct it to the appropriate garbage location. He wanted me to do the deed.

The second explanation is that he did not know and send me this BS thinking it was true.

So my questions are: is my correspondent lazy or stupid? When one is an influential person, does one not have an elementary duty to exercise some kind of judgement before disseminating BS? I mean, most people know India has a population slightly over a billion (1.3 billion is one current estimate). The claim that India has a billion smartphones does not pass the smell test. Why glorify some stupid post by forwarding it?

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