Carl Sagan´s Guide to Fake News. The story behind the headline: “Paypal was invented by accident”

The story is true and relatively easily checked.  There are numerous interviews with Levchin and other witnesses from the period to provide “independent confirmation of the facts”.  For example, this interview in Business insider or this article in TechRepublic.

There are quite a few facts in the article, including dates and names, so it is not too hard to check these via internet sources such as Wikipedia or contemporary news sources.  Whilst it is impossible to know for sure what thoughts were in Levchin´s head at the time, any alternative hypothesis (such as Levchin´s plan was always to start with palmpilot money transfers and then move onto ebay users) would seem overly complex and not in line with “Occam´s razor”.  Finally, the story is told in a straightforward manner avoiding “appeals to authority” or assumptions requiring belief in unprovable propositions.

Click on Carl Sagan´s Guide to Fake News if you want to find out more about fake news or the baloney detection toolkit.


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