Want to create your own fake news? Yep, there’s an app for that.
Want to have fun while learning how to dump fake news from your media diet? Fortunately, there are a few apps for that too.
The epidemic of fake news during and after the U.S. presidential election convinced several game designers and journalists to think outside the box for trying to tackle the problem. They say that great minds think alike — and three different groups have created three similar apps to help users learn how to tell the difference between misleading headlines and factual claims.
It began in the fall of 2014 with lighthearted, sometimes snarky, sometimes earnest responses to comments on its Facebook posts, ramping up the frequency of official responses from the verified Welt account with a new two-person social media staff. The team took to trolling trolls with memes and gifs, amusing others with pop culture references and jokes, thanking those who wrote insightful comments, on top of addressing questions about the outlet’s editorial decisions and helping with social verification during breaking news coverage. Die Welt reads emails from readers, but perhaps even more admirably, it reads all its Facebook comments (tens of thousands per day) and makes sure its official account’s voice is present in the comments below every post on its page.
While misinformation is an unambiguous menace of our public discourse, the research on how best to correct it remains far from settled. But at least one thing is undeniably true about fact-checking and verification: timing makes a difference.
How though does one sift misinformation from the infinite social web in time to actually make a difference? While there is still no technological silver bullet, well-organized groups of journalists can utilize existing technology disrupt misinformation. Monitoring techniques like the ones I’ll present here supported our work during this year’s snap election in the United Kingdom and in social newsgathering enterprises like Electionland.