Believe it or not, bullshit is a “technical” term, in that this is the terminology sometimes used in scientific papers on people’s beliefs (e.g. Pennycook et al., 2015). Bullshit is distinctly different from lying (Frankfurt, 2005): in order for a lie to be told, the truth must be (thought to be) known so that it can be hidden.
On the flipside, bullshitting is not predicated on truth. Bullshitters can say anything to suit their purpose. Therefore, unlike lying, there may be no intentional deceit in terms of the information given by a bullshitter. Equally, unlike lying, bullshitters are in some ways safe, because if the truth “comes out”, it does not matter; their claims were not based on hiding the truth after all.
I would also argue that most perpetuators of bullshit are not bullshitters themselves: they are—to their best knowledge—being honest, in that they have believed the bullshit to be true (I call these people “victims of bullshit”).
Most people who make ridiculous, obviously untrue, or otherwise outrageous claims I would guess are bullshitters (or victims of bullshit). The reason I think this is because it does not seem to matter how much you show them otherwise, they continue making the same claim(s). The “truth” has not phased them, as it would a liar.
To give an example: my research was the first to show that in a non-exercise setting, dehydration does not actually raise cortisol in healthy humans. This is the only study to have looked at this in a controlled setting. Someone on Twitter posted that people should drink a litre of water in the morning because “Dehydration skyrockets your cortisol (stress hormone) and keeps you a nervous wreck throughout your day”. I asked for evidence and showed them my paper, they replied saying we measured cortisol wrong (we used plasma, apparently we should have looked at saliva...). I highlighted a meta-analysis showing my study to be the only suitable study conducted for the claim, and asked again what evidence they based their claim on. I got no reply, but their post is still up. If they were lying they would need to hide the evidence of their lies. Instead, they are bullshitting so have no shame in keeping the claim alive.
Frankfurt, H. G., 2005. On Bullshit. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Pennycook, G., Cheyne, J. A., Barr, N., Koehler, D. J., & Fugelsang, J. A., 2015. On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. Judgement & Decision Making, 10(6), 549-63.
Aiello, N., 2020. How to spot bullshit on the internet: https://medium.com/@nicolemaiello/how-to-spot-bullshit-on-the-internet-6d8d4b65b57d