Adi Robertson recounts a time when she got furious over a Twitter post, which showed a photo of a paper sign in an apartment building, which told tenants that they would soon be paying $35 monthly for using the elevator. While the photo is surprising, it is the kind of behavior that can be expected from a greedy landlord. The post is also the type that’s easy to furiously retweet without thinking.
But a little digging showed that the photo was uploaded to Reddit back in 2013, and the post’s author said the signs were quickly taken down. The building manager denied writing them to both the author and a reporter, suggesting that this was either a prank or an immediately abandoned plan. Retweeting the photo would have just outraged people about something that had seemingly never happened.
This kind of viral half-truth is part of the fabric of today’s internet, and the kind of anger it inspired has been turned into a dangerous commodity. It’s cynically exploited by businesses for ad-supported “fake news,” by scammers raising money online, and by authoritarian governments to spread hate and fear.
How do you discern against these half-truths? How can you confirm if the news is true, false, or something in between? Robertson provides us some tips on how to examine the information we see online. See her post over at The Verge.
What are your thoughts about this one?
(Image Credit: 200degrees/ Pixabay)