We have been talking about the new Colossal Squid exhibition soon to be opening at Te Papa. Take a look at the sensational photo captured in May
My story was verified with some links to Te Ara, Te Papa, some reference to recent events both locally and nationally, and a picture of a stamp due to be released. Here are some facts:
1. The photo was taken in 2012, not 2018
2. The photo is from White Rock in British Colombia, Canada
3. This was in fact a whale that beached, not a squid.
Here is the original:
Now see how the fake news creator has doctored the image to make it look very credibly like a Colossal Squid
This may have been recognised as fake news by news agencies in 2015 when this story first came out, but the photo and back up information given to students makes it very believable and highlights the problem we have of the sheer volume of information available to us and how to decipher fact from fiction.
Snopes is the website where I found these pictures and is an excellent place to verify international media claims. They try where possible to contact the main subject of claims to sort the fact from the fiction, and failing that use knowledgeable, qualified experts and organisations, plus authoritative journals. Nothing like this exists in New Zealand and it is up to us to decide how well we trust our media outlets to be providing good quality news.
Fake news is used by football agents to create excitement and build value in their players. Look at these headlines about the possibility of Ronaldo returning to Manchester United during the transfer window this year. Ronaldo did not once sit down and have talks with United.
Ronaldo signed for Juventus for $174 million. His agent will have earned a good % of that figure.
All of these other 57 players were linked with United during this transfer period of one month. Only one of them actually signed for United, the others will have benefitted from the link and raised good prices for themselves and their agents.
Have a look at another example of fake news in action. Recently anti-1080 protestors used an image of a group of dead kiwis to show the effects of 1080 poison on native wildlife. It turns out that this photo was previously released by a conservation group who were highlighting the number of deaths of kiwi by dog attacks and cars. The Facebook post was quickly taken down, but not before it had been shared 1000 times.
Another side to the story! Who do we trust?
Breaking News!!!! Media bias can create news where there isn’t really any. This article talks through the damage that can be caused through breaking news not being entirely accurate.
Wikipedia get some bad press when it comes to being a reliable source – but just look at the number of sources they cite for their entry on the Colossal Squid! Their strict Verifiability Policy gives them a strong basis for choosing whether to allow posts to be published.
Basic things to consider before you reach for that share button:
1. Avoid following events in real time – give the news outlets chance to verify their breaking news and check in every hour or so
2. Follow actual news reporters – they are on location and often post actual photos on instagram of events as they happen
3. Media bias – find several news sources to help seperate fact from opinion. Find one you trust.
4. Verify before spreading – don’t become the source of fake news! Look at the sources your news has quoted – how expert are they? Can they possibly be verified?
This poster from the National Literacy Trust in the UK gives good advice about how to spot fake news and choose whether to share.