On January 8, 2006, America took a collective gasp when an article in The Smoking Gun exposed the nationally acclaimed memoir A Million Little Pieces as fictional, contrary to representations by the author, James Frey, that is was a factual account of his struggle with addiction and rehabilitation. Controversy ensued around the fabrications presented in the emotional memoir and Oprah Winfrey, whose endorsement was largely responsible for the book’s exponential success, voiced the feelings of betrayal from millions of American readers when it became apparent that we had been duped by false authenticity.
The national outcry against Frey is indicative of the simple fact that we just don’t like to be lied to. Our tolerance for deception is low and we expect, often demand, transparency in the media. However, the advent of social media has unleashed a world where identities, authorship and claims often lack verification, a world which beseeches trust at your own risk.