Factuality and Testimony Denial: 11 Theses on Fakes and Verification

  • Dieter Mersch orcid logo (Zurich University of the Arts)


The question of alternative facts or fakes and fiction in social media is mostly discussed on the grounds of true-false discrimination. Central issue is the search for criteria, for the possibility of technical solutions, for justification or general verification procedures, or for possibilities of digital forensics, to name but few. This article takes a different approach by bringing the concept of witnessing into play in a new way. For what is being hurt or destroyed by the massive dissemination of lies, false facts, etc. is not the differentiation between truth and falsity, but the social function of testimonies. The consequence is a loss of social trust, "social faith" (Kant) or what can be paraphrased with the ancient concept of koinonia. machine vision in the shaping media of verification in popular culture, artistic, as well as surveillance contexts.

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Keywords: truth, falsity, fake, alternative facts, justification, verification, testimony, trust, koinonia

How to Cite:

Mersch, D., (2023) “Factuality and Testimony Denial: 11 Theses on Fakes and Verification”, communication +1 10(1). doi:



Published on
15 Dec 2023
Peer Reviewed