Roughly 30% of Americans get their news from Facebook according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. The World Economic Forum said in a 2013 report that “massive digital misinformation” is one of the main risks for modern society — it can influence war, voting and a plethora of other things.
Fake news is “the reason you might have thought Islamic State fighters infected with Ebola were crossing the US border. (They weren’t.) Or that Facebook is going to start charging users a $2.99 monthly fee. (It isn’t.)” said Keegan Hamilton in a recent article on Vice News.
“Those are just a few of the recent stories by Allen Montgomery and Paul Horner, publisher and prankster-in-chief, respectively, of the fake news website National Report,” said Hamilton.
“They have carved out a niche for themselves with a form of satire that borders on disinformation. Like a darker, angrier version of the Onion, National Report skewers mass media coverage of trending stories by dreaming up patently ridiculous news and passing it off as real,” Hamilton continued. “It pisses people off.”
“We’ve been getting bunches and bunches of hate mail on the fear-bola,” Montgomery told Hamilton from his office in California, using a word he coined for coverage of the Ebola outbreak. “Some of these stories on Ebola we kind of bait the crazies out. You write something that will get a response from racists or bigots, these guys that are fearing everything — you write something to pull ’em out of the woodwork and sometimes they come running.”
Does that leave you feeling like we are being played as suckers? It does me. And if that isn’t bad enough sometimes even the most conservative of the main stream media get pulled in. Fox & Friends criticized President Obama for offering to personally pay for a “museum of Muslim culture” to remain open during the government shutdown, a claim originated by Horner that was fake news/bull shit.
Hamilton says the hoaxes more frequently target the right wing territory dominated by Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. The site’s design — lifted from the Huffington Post — is clean and professional, with a masthead flanked by pictures of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin that frame the slogan “America’s #1 Independent News Source.”
In reality National Report is probably America’s #1 fake news source. There is no connection to Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin. Everything about National Report is blatant bull shit.
There are dozens of sites that are generally owned by pranksters that love to think things up to piss people off. They know that pissed off people share their feelings and when one of their stories goes viral and gets millions of shares they feel pride in knowing they have totally duped that 30% of Americans that get their news from Facebook.
So next time you read on Facebook that Dennis Rodman is flying to Iraq to meet with the Islamic State to try and broker a peace deal don’t believe it. It came from National Report. National Report wrote a story that Obama was going to auction off all of the marijuana that had been confiscated in the USA since his election and it went insanely viral on Facebook. A National Report story that stirred up a frenzy recently proclaimed that the Dearborne, Michigan City Commission had passed a proclamation making Sharia Law the new law in Dearborne.
Even look at the small text on the screenshot of the National Report masthead (above and again below) taken November 24, 2014. It says “HEADLINE: Mom Calls 911 on Masturbating Teenage Son. Boy Arrested. Charged with New ‘Self Rape’ State Law.”
Facebook is not a news source. Facebook is media (social, antisocial or both). Facebook is an echo chamber of National Report and every other source of fake news in the world.
- Roughly 30% of Americans get their news from Facebook.
- Massive digital misinformation is one of the main risks for modern society.
- Facebook is the echo chamber of all of the fake news/bull shit in the world.
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I’ll see you back on FB. I must see what conversations I am missing out on. MDW