Why you should not believe everything you read on the Internet

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That goes without saying but here are two recent examples of how the internet news site echo chamber has little to do with facts sometimes.

An unknown prankster reveals how he got a totally bogus rumor about the X-Box picked UP EVERYWHERE with no effort, simply by sending an email with a juicy rumor pretending to be an insider.

And this is where we come to the most important part: it’s not just that it was easy to get a site to publish the non-news… it’s also the fact that every other site will then leech the information. As if linking to the original site absolves them of the need to check up on the sources.

Not to mention the Chinese whisper effect. I have listed below many different links to sites that took this news from Pocket-Lint.com: have a read through each one and play spot the difference. There is always at least one bit of information that was changed, mistranslated (even on English sites) or not mentioned at all.


Even legit sites like CNET picked up the rumor wholesale.

Brendan Connolly has a lesser example of how fake facts fill the vacuum recalling how THE KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM, a funny-looking movie about larping, got some buzz at Comic-Con two years and ago and since then…nothing. Unless..you want there to be something.

First of all, though, let’s look at something that’s happened an awful lot in the last week.

People have been blogging about a “new” trailer for Knights of Badassdom. Except there isn’t one. At all. They’ve been sharing the exact same trailer, frame-to-frame identical in video and audio, compression issues aside.

There’s no new trailer at all.


Connolly suggests a Reddit link may have been the source of the “new” trailer. Or it could have been Twitter or Pinterest or Tumblr or whatever.

It’s part of the need for hot bubbling news first that all of us websites share. And sometimes you have to rein it in. Or know the known unknowns. I came across a juicy tidbit the other day and was halfway through writing it up when I realized it was news from 10 months ago…I just hadn’t seen it the first time, and since the original PR, the project hadn’t been mentioned anywhere.

That’s also why, if it’s your project, you need to get out that initial news blast…and keep blasting until everyone is lying in a heap with blood seeping out of their ears. Rinse and repeat and hope fake news doesn’t have a louder roar.

Sigh.

Comments

  1. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Actually, most major videogame focused sites (Joystiq, Kotaku, etc) didn’t run the X-Surface rumor story. A writer from one site even posted an text exchange on his twitter where the hoaxer was pissed the majors didn’t fall for it.

    The sites that did fall for it were all non-game focused sites like Yahoo and CNET, no-name small gaming sites, or news aggregators like VG247 that don’t check on the veracity of anything.

    The games journalism scene has been a little more cautious lately thanks to stuff like a different fake rumor scam being successfully run on Kotaku and a review payola scandal at some European gaming sites.

  2. John Warren says:

    How about all the rumors about Joseph Gordon-Levitt showing up in the new Superman movie? Seems like a lot of movie-related rumors get passed on with zero fact-checking involved.

  3. DeAndre Jordan says:

    What Gawker Media publishes is mostly true and they follow through updating the article if it is not.

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