Fake News… Again?
Fake news has been around forever – probably before the advent of written language. But today its more dangerous than it ever was. Facebook, twitter and Instagram posts get liked, shared, retweeted hundreds and thousands of times. Information from these posts are converted to blog posts, forums, YouTube videos, and more. So, thanks to algorithms and Google, fake news is proliferating the internet… headlines like “Hillary Clinton has third heart attack – docs say she won’t survive” and “Putin issues international arrest warrant for George Soros”.
Take the fake news quiz to find out if you’re the next Fake News Sniper – http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-38005844 – But if you’re like the rest of us, untrained in fake news combat, the truth can be sinister. Hurricane Irma, the Category 4 Hurricane that plagued SoFlo last weekend, spawned rumors of twin tornados approaching the coast, causing mayhem. Turns out the video was from 2007, but it was on the web for more than 2 weeks.
The White House was fooled by alleged images of the Miami International Airport under 6 feet of water, evident from a tweet by THE DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA OF THE WHITE HOUSE. Dan Scavino apparently was sharing the images and videos of Hurricane Irma’s damage to the President and Vice President, when the airport tweeted back, “This video is not from Miami International Airport”. Oops. He later deleted his tweet, thanking the airport for the correction. This are small examples of the potential impact that fake news can have on our reality. Imagine a world where governments made administrative decisions based on FAKE NEWS. Horrific, right?
Last week, a Facebook page urging it’s members to shoot at the hurricane in an attempt to redirect it, was created as a joke. By Sunday, more than 27,000 people “RSVP’d” to the event, and it was so prolific that the Sheriff posted a message telling people not to shoot at the hurricane, as bullets can be redirected towards yourself. So far so good, there’s no news about Floridians shot en masse during the hurricane.