Fake News topic was one of the topics that I was so excited to talk about.As it is more of a trend nowadays, I no longer believe any piece of news that I find on social platforms. Maybe just seeing a headline of any article shared on Facebook make me think “Oh then this news must be fake as long as it is trending on Facebook.” So, I took it as a chance to make my curation assignment on Fake News where I can relate to it in so many topics, starting with this one:
Scoop Empire’s Article: https://scoopempire.com/this-arab-girl-received-offers-from-nasa-spacex-netflix-buzzfeed-and-we-couldnt-help-but-step-in/
Couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling through Facebook when I found a link of an article titled “This Arab Girl receives offers from NASA, SpaceX, Netflix & we couldn’t help but step in.” It was posted by Scoop Empire which is a supposedly new well-known website for its news & articles. I was curious to open it, I found attached screenshots in the article that shows Sara’s personal Instagram story with some messages from: Nasa texting her for loving her Giant BBQ grill idea after every rocket launching, then SpaceX saying that they have even better offer for her & asking her to go to them instead. Then a message from Netflix saying that they would like to accompany her in order to produce a documentary about everything that happened and going to happen. And many more messages from Buzz feed, Ellen DeGeneres and so on. To make sure, I went to Instagram & opened Sara’s stories. All the screenshots were correct & the girl keeps posting about how incredibly huge the situation is and she cannot believe that these people actually texted her about her idea. I was SHOCKED that she can have this huge amount of feed-backs about such a silly idea like “Making a huge BBQ from the fire produced when a rocket launches.” & I believed that NASA went crazy, and every other company then were just texting her because of the attention that NASA gave to this girl. Too weird I didn’t doubt the fact that these photos could actually be photo-shopped! Maybe the fact that I saw it as a news first on a supposedly credible website, then her story, made me not doubt the messages at all. But I was still shocked of course. However, a few days later she posted that Trump sent her a message congratulating her, I said this message can never be real, then the next story is her confessing that all the photos are made by her and that it is only a social experiment! Mind blown!! I guess I learnt my lesson the hard way, but glad I did. No matter how realistic a thing might seem on social media, we should never believe it until we get a materialistic evidence that proof the thing. Maybe I couldn’t find a reason of why she would Photoshop such messages, but everything made sense after she revealed her whole story on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42ogVgE1lOE
Bad News game (https://getbadnews.com/#play):
This game is surprisingly realistic and so manipulative. It sounded as if I am getting real instructions on how to spread fake news & how to make a fake website believable. Though it felt wrong when I chose to share some fake news, but when the counter started counting the followers I’ve got after spreading that news, and the credibility meter started increasing. I actually felt okay as if I was ready to continue to keep increasing my followers & these meters! This made me understand the feeling of the people who goes crazily posting fake news just for the sake of having more followers. And this actual feedback from the website after getting some followers seriously surprised me
- Website: You got them! How are you feeling?
- Me: I have moral objections
- Moral what?
- Good choice, let’s continue.
It sounded as if my boss is talking to me, and that I was not convinced, but afraid to object on what we are doing and willing to continue on his instructions! I also witnessed some very surprising options like when it was asking me what I want to post on my fake website; emotional or serious content? I chose serious, and its answer was “What? No! You have got to exploit some emotions first!” And it focuses on either fear or anger. Again, sounds so realistic! Whenever I chose to ost fake news about the weather, the website refuse, telling me that this piece of news will not get people’s attention and will not increase the reach of my website. I ended up getting only 250 followers, and did not even reach half of the credibility accomplished meter. But I am glad of that because it makes me look like I am not the person to publish fake news even if it is a game anyway. However, I completely loved & enjoyed the realistic design of the game!
Fake it to make it (http://www.fakeittomakeitgame.com/)
It is a bit similar game to bad news, called Fake it to make it. It has the same concept of spreading fake news among people, but its experience differ as it makes you simulate (similar to a very realistic) blog where you can share your fake news, and people would follow you personally for the ‘credible’ news you are offering them daily! The challenging part is that you completely fake the news. From A to Z. In which, you are completely reliable for any damages that may occur from that news as it is not something that you have only twisted, but completely faked it! I liked that it made me experience how I would react to spreading something that I invented on my own, but it was not easy at all! So I still cannot get how people are able to do this! However, I didn’t like that it was a bit vague and its instructions and the website options itself were a bit unclear.
– Moreover, in-class we searched online for “Is the Sun going to sleep in 2020? Will there be a mini ice age?” Surprisingly, infinite websites & google images have content about that topic, none of which says that it is a hoax or a fake news. Including a website that gave every possible scientific explanation for why the end of the world is in 2020 because of the mini ice-age: https://tfrlive.com/is-there-going-to-be-a-mini-ice-age-the-sun-going-to-sleep-has-scientists-suggesting-so/ Maybe it is me who could not find a claim that says the news is fake, but this website offers everything possible to make it sound realistic like it is quoting people, mentioning the name of the scientists who have such claims and the date of their researchers that says that. What is ironic is that they link every name mentioned to give their fake news credibility, bit actually not a single linked name is working to give you any information about who this person/scientist is. This is pretty similar to back in 2008 where people believed that the end of the world is in 2012. Then the actual reason behind this belief is the release of the movie “2012:Doomsday” and the people who took advantage of the movie’s release & kept spreading fake news, just as fake it to make it game. Then another belief was that the end of the world is in September 2017. It was a trend on Facebook for more than 2 years where everyone was sharing & talking about it; how serious the news is, why is the end? And they got even more serious in which they started posting about treating others properly & forgiveness so as when that day approaches, we are ready for it! Some of the people who actually believed this & let the idea took over their brain should be brain washed! Photos similar to this one was also trending on Facebook. Well, here 2017 has passed & we are still alive!
Is Paracetamol Contaminated with the Deadly Machupo Virus? : https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/paracetamol-warning/
However, our Doctor taught us a smart way in which we could recognize whether a news is fake or not, by writing ‘hoax’ next to it while searching. Like when we were searching for the ‘Machupo’ Virus in the painkillers & its harms. When I wrote hoax in the search, the first link was this article showing that this virus is a fake news & there is no single proof of it. But let’s face it, who would believe that there is a serious virus called Machupo anyway? So in class when we saw the word hoax in the machupo virus article, it made sense. It might be misleading of the, to leave the title as if it is true, then writing a whole article about its dangers, then the very last line of the article says it is hoax! Simply because people may not complete the article till the end. Also, in another class, the doctor told us to search the name of the website that displays such news as some of them are known to be scam websites. I also found a very beneficial website where it reveals any hoax news circulating, called Hoax Slayer: https://www.hoax-slayer.net/hoax-machupo-virus-in-paracetamol/
If we are talking about Fake News, then I cannot escape talking about the Fake Videos & Info-graphics made that are designed in a way to capture attention, and to make you believe that they are giving you such a precious piece of information that is completely valid & nonnegotiable, while in the matter of fact it does not have any importance and definitely ain’t true. An example that shows my point is an info-graphic that i really liked & was shared with us by the doctor: http://etale.org/main/2018/01/24/5-critical-statistics-about-infographics/
See what was the info-graphic’s effect on you? It kept giving you numbers & convincing you with what is written, then surprising you with the fact that it is not true. Well, at least this info-graph admitted that the information is fake. But What about all the videos & photos that we have seen before and undoubtedly believed it while there was no one tell us that it is all based on fake news?
Four Moves by Michael Caulfield: https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/chapter/four-strategies/
Talking of the methods in which we can figure out how true & credible the source is or how fake the news is, I liked this blog very much. Its author summarized four steps to figure the reality behind any news with only 4 steps or 4 moves. Starting with previous check if someone already fought or researched the claimed. Then upstream search until you can get the original research in which the claim is taken from. Or you can read laterally if any other authors or publications talked about that claim & explained either its reality or falseness. In case you got lost, you can always circle back to where you started and start all over again to get a clearer point of view about the topic. As simple as the steps may seem, yet very effective when put into action.
I have also found an info-graphic I would like to share with you that advises on how to spot fake news: https://bluesyemre.com/2017/01/31/how-to-spot-fakenews-infographic-by-ifla/
Studio Visit: http://unboundeq.creativitycourse.org/activities/interactive/studio-visit-3-fake-news/
Moving to the Studio visit in which Michael Caulfield attended where he discussed his opinion about the roots of fake news and where it stemmed from. In Michael’s opinion: It started long ago from the national newspapers which started spreading hoaxes & yellow journalism. According to Wikipedia: Yellow Journalism or the yellow press is a type of journalism that does not report much real news with facts. It uses shocking headlines that catch people’s attention to sell more newspapers. Yellow journalism might include exaggerating facts or spreading rumors. So, social media platforms made it much easier for yellow press to spread widely & faster. I agree with him about how social media platforms made it easy for fake news & hoaxes to reach elite at a very low cost while before these social platforms, it was a very hectic & complex procedure to be able to represent one’s thoughts in front of people of such high positions. I also liked when he gave example of back in 1980s in order for a news to be announced, the reporter had to do many interviews & pass through many filtration processes before publishing it. While now with the spread of social media platforms & as people want everything fast, the news spread faster even before it gets to be filtered.
Michael Caulfield summarized the fact that nowadays any fake news spread in the speed of light & many people believe it because of the uncontrolled content on social media like Facebook & WhatsApp. Though they are meant to be socializing platforms, but they play as a double edged weapon if t is not used right & people are aware of every word they write or share.