Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

Curated knowledge, trenchant insights & witty bon mots

Could you be duped by fake news?

Depending on its sophistication, the answer is oh yes, you probably could. Some French journalists have created a conspiracy theory video to test you.

From (“How easily could you be duped by fake news?“):

It’s an extraordinary proposition: that the U.S. Central Intelligence Service created the AIDS virus decades ago in its political battle with Cuba. What’s more, that former U.S. president Barack Obama only moved to further lift the embargo on the tiny nation in 2016, to get access to a vaccine the country had created.

To most, the notion is easily dismissed.

But, wrap it in the packaging of a slickly produced video with emotive pictures and an authoritative voice doing the narration, and the conspiracy theory quickly becomes convincing.

“That’s the true reason for the financial and health embargo against the island that has lasted 50 years,” the voice on the video says.

“The idea is to create a shock reaction,” says Thomas Huchon, one of a group of French journalists who created the video to illustrate how easily fake news can be believed.

Click through on the above link and watch the embedded video.

Huchon is an investigative journalist who says he became concerned about fake news in the aftermath of the Paris bombings in 2015 that killed 137 people. He says the conspiracy theories that flooded the internet were convincingly presented with high production values, that suggested to viewers that they could only have come from legitimate news agencies.

“There has been a professionalization of the work that has been done on the internet about fake news,” he says. “I think over the last 10 years the professional news broadcaster [and] the professional journalist has lost ground on the internet.”

He believes many people mistakenly believe that fake news will be easier to spot because it’s poorly written, with obvious spelling or grammatical errors, a nod to fake news created in other countries and roughly translated to English.

But Huchon says that notion needs to be challenged.

Sat, May 12 2018 » Main Page, Media