Anonymous individuals close to "senior government officials" are claiming the Internet is close to breaking point. Within months, perhaps hours it is conceivable that the World Wide Web will grind to a halt, crushed under a mountain of leaks, disclosures and conspiracy theories. The news comes at a time when the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks has just made public a huge cache of secret information about the war in Afghanistan, causing alarm in US military circles.
"Frankly it is hard to tell how many more shocking revelations, hypotheses and conspiracy theories users of the web can take," said one source, who agreed to remain anonymous so long as we gave a good plug to his book An End to Conspiracies?
"Web users are so saturated with conspiracies right now they no longer know what to believe. Some, like myself, start speaking in tongues - or "code" as we call it. Some simply walk round and round in circles muttering to themselves that they don't care (even though they clearly do). Then there are others, more courageous, who feel they must share this information with other web users - which can be particularly problematic, especially when they are logged onto banking, dating or pornography sites."
We asked a specialist to conduct a survey of web users' reactions to the growing torrent of conspiracy theories on the Internet. Our aim was to prove there was nothing unusual happening even though there clearly was. Naturally, we had to weigh this against the obvious need to come to certain conclusions that were frankly quite shocking - A somewhat tall order, most would agree. Frighteningly, we discovered the following:-
Fact: 90 % of conspiracy website followers claimed to derive greater "gratification" from logging onto conspiracy sites than pornography or even gardening sites
Fact: 90 % of conspiracy website followers claimed that 90 % of conspiracy theories were untrue but that they "tended to believe them anyhow."
Fact: 91.1 % of conspiracy website followers are either second-home owners or are thinking of giving up smoking in the next twelve months
And, most frightening of all:
Fact: 93.234371 % of conspiracy website followers are seriously thinking of setting up their own conspiracy website in the next twelve months
Armed with this staggering information, it is apparent that something must be done before the Internet and those very websites conspiracy theorists cherish disappear. It is also apparent, because of our long-held belief in the freedom of expression that nothing can be done. Most would agree that this is frighteningly paradoxical
We invite you, the audience to send in your suggestions as to how we might avoid the nightmare scenario that is An End to Conspiracies? (available at all good bookshops). We would encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below - though sadly we have to announce that the comments section has been disabled... for reasons... well, for reasons we can only guess at...