Thursday, November 17, 2016

How We Got Here

A shortish interview with Paul Horner, Facebook Fake News Impressario, by Caitlin Dewey at WaPo
WaPo: You’ve been writing fake news for a while now — you’re kind of like the OG Facebook news hoaxer. Well, I’d call it hoaxing or fake news. You’d call it parody or satire. How is that scene different now than it was three or five years ago? Why did something like your story about Obama invalidating the election results (almost 250,000 Facebook shares, as of this writing) go so viral?
Horner: Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.
 I was wrong when I said this is the Era Of Post-Trust.  Actually, I was wrong not to include the part that says this is the Era Of Poe's Law.

"...without a clear indicator of the author's intent, parodies of extreme views will be mistaken by some readers or viewers as sincere expressions of the parodied views."

Mr Horner again:
My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.
You know this shit ain't normal - push back against it.

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