There have been a lot of tweets going viral the past couple of years and most of them are most likely filled with logical fallacies and incorrect statements, like this one. This Twitter thread went viral today and I just wanted to take some time to decipher the logical fallacies that are prominent throughout.
The Twitter user, Rafael Shimunov, starts the thread by saying “Bezos gives 0.0906% to charity.” What Rafael means by this is that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, gives 0.0906% of his net worth to charity. He even tweets a graphic for proof a couple of tweets later.
So, in his first tweet, Rafael compares the percentage of Jeff Bezos’ net worth he gives to charity to the percentage of a metaphorical person’s income they may give to charity. This is a logical fallacy called faulty comparison as it is an argument that compares two things that are not comparable, someone’s entire net worth and someone else’s hourly/annual income. Comparing one’s net worth to someone else’s income are two totally different things, thus creating a false premise for Rafael’s argument.
In his second tweet, Rafael references the $3 billion New York is reported to be giving Amazon in tax breaks for building HQ2 in NYC. Rafael uses this as an argument for keeping Amazon out of NYC. However, if we’re talking percentages of net worth, $3 billion is 0.36726% of Amazon’s $816.86 billion market cap, and 0.2% of the estimated $1.5 trillion value of NYC’s real estate, let alone the entire city. Also in 2017, Amazon’s revenue was $177.87 billion with an operating profit of $4.1 billion (with many more billions being spent on research and development). I think New York will be just fine financially.
Amazon has been notorious for legally avoiding taxes as much as they possibly can, but let’s not pretend New York giving $3 billion to fund a physical barrier between the US and Mexico that will give minimal back to the city and state governments.
Rafael goes on to take unattributed quotes out of context and doubles down on his misleading statements about Bezos’ charitable donations.
First of all, I’m sure either the Mayor or Governor (Rafael doesn’t specify which one stated this) said more than two words when asked a question. They are politicians after all. Secondly, you should add the link to where you found that quote so the readers can click through and find the full quote in context (we’re on the Internet, not television). Thirdly, this is an example of the logical fallacy called Quoting Out Of Context. Not only did Rafael not attribute this quote to a specific person, but he also used only two words of the quote to further his logically fallacious argument. Click here to read Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio’s full thoughts on the Amazon NYC deal.
Rafael also states “The median net worth of an American is 11K.” This is also untrue as the median net worth of an American under 35 years old is $11,000. Rafael literally just Googled “Median net worth in US” and found the first source he could and fudged the numbers for his argument. And Twitter bit. HARD. This is a logical fallacy called Misleading Vividness as it uses a factually accurate statistic for an entirely different subject. Of course Americans under 35 have a median net worth of $11,000, we still have $20,000 in student loans to pay off. Please don’t compare our finances to the richest person in the world who’s ten years away from being a senior citizen.
Rafael goes on to state a few more (probably logically fallacious) statements about Amazon’s morality, which I don’t really care to take the time to research. One of which is Rafael complaining about NYC making an exception to the helicopter ban for Amazon. Uhhh, we’re talking about the richest person in the world, of course he helicopters everywhere. Find a new slant.
The point of this article is to point out that this Twitter thread currently has 40,000 retweets and 153,000 likes on Twitter even though it is littered with incorrect information and logical fallacies. I must implore you all to not blindly retweet something just because it aligns with your point of view. Twitter threads like this are devastating to the great Information Age and will undoubtedly help Vladamir Putin rig another American election.
And lastly, who cares if Jeff Bezos gives less than 1% of his net worth to charity. So do I so go fuck yourself.