November 15, 2016 by Paul Dughi
The folks behind the popular game Pokemon Go are adding a Trump Tower to the game. It will show up randomly in cities for major events.
See what we did there? Don’t blame me. You clicked on this story.
We were sitting around in one of our marketing meetings talking about the fact that it seems every time we post something to our news website about how a Donald Trump presidency will change something, it gets significantly more traffic than anything else.
I joked: “Maybe we should just start every story with ‘the impact of a Trump administration on . . . “ Somebody else said: “. . . on Pokemon Go.
We thought about fitting in more trending keywords, but decided you’d get the point with two.
What I find in many cases, especially on social media, is that people read the headline and never read the actual story to find out the facts. We find lots of examples of people writing pointed comments accusing us of bias because they read the headline and assumed what the content was. If they’d taken time to read it — like you did — they would have found out it was not what they assumed.
This whole conversation about Facebook sharing “fake news” and the incredible amount of misinformation that’s out there strikes me as odd.
Some people are convinced social media’s distribution of slanted info or lies skewed the election. Sure, fake news and bad info got into people’s news feeds.
When did we abdicate the responsibility to make sure we are informed?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the idea that fake news influenced the election in any way “a pretty crazy idea.” I think he’s right. Even if there’s a ton of fake stuff out there, it’s relatively easy to check on its veracity in many cases.
People believe what they want to believe. It seems people are more interested in having their viewpoint validated than learning the real truth these days. So if you’re a Trump supporter, every negative story you see is written off as a hatchet job by a media that wanted Clinton elected. If you’re a Clinton supporter, you assume every story about her email is an attempt to smear her.
Variations of this keep showing up in my Facebook feed, saying that Trump in fact won not only the Electoral College, but the popular vote.
It’s not true, but that hasn’t stopped a lot of people that I’m friends with from posting variations of this. No source, no attribution, and no truth. The graphic purports the post is from one Kathy Barnette, conveniently in front of a FOX News sign. Interesting since the only Kathy Barnette I can find at FOX News is a contributor… and she’s an African-American woman.
Maybe the “Whatsupdaddio” in the corner should have been a sign it’s not from a legitimate news source. That didn’t stop it from getting shared over and over and over again and quoted as fact.
Zuckerberg’s says Facebook’s studied this phenomenom quite a bit, from what shows up in people’s newsfeeds to what they engage with.
By far, the biggest filter in the system is not that the content isn’t there, or that you don’t have friends who support the other candidate, or who are from another religion, but that you just tune it out when you see it. So, you have your world view, and you go through and I think we would all be surprised how many things don’t conform to our world view that we just tune out. — Mark Zuckerberg in remarks at Techonomy conference
I’m proposing netiquette rules-of-the-road:
· Say it with me: Read before sharing. Make sure what it included in the article is actually what it’s about and that it’s legitimate.
· If it’s got a website or media name attached to it that you’ve never heard of before, your radar should go off. If you’re unsure, check it out.
· If you’re not sure if it’s true, Google it. If it’s true, legitimate media sources will have it… most of the time.
· Make sure it’s not old news, just being repackaged. I keep seeing stories that are from years ago that pop up.
Or you can do what my mother-in-law does all the time. Email your son in-law and ask if this is true. By the way, every time she has done that, the answer has been no.
No, ABC News hasn’t banned reporters from wearing American flag pins.
No, Facebook isn’t charging a monthly subscription fee.
Yes, absentee ballots are counted regardless of how close a race is.
No, a FBI agent suspected to be leaking Clinton email was not found murdered.
No, Melania Trump didn’t file for divorce this past weekend.
We used to use that line “Trust, but verify.” I think we need to adapt it now. “Assume it’s false, unless it’s from a trusted source.”