Facebook “satire” tag could wipe out the Internet’s terrible hoax-news industry
By Caitlin Dewey; August 19, 2014; The Washington Post
In a move that could permanently cripple the Internet’s unchecked hoax industry (… and ruin at least a couple of decent punch lines), Facebook this week announced that it’s experimenting with a tag that will mark sites such as the Onion, Clickhole and Empire News as satire — and, hopefully, alert the millions of gullible people who share these sites as truth each week.
The perception of phony news stories as legitimate ones is the number four crisis spawned by the Internet age, according to Willard O’Brian of Pepper State University. Its damage is only superseded by that brought by identity theft, hacking of government and corporate data, and sexual crime. Poor Wifi connections rounded out the top five.
“Our goal as a publicly-minded service,” commented a Facebook spokesperson, “is for people to maximize their use of Facebook as a social and commercial tool. Do you like this picture of your cousin’s cat? Do you have more friends than your co-workers? We don’t want people to have to question what is real and what is not. Leave that to the philosophists.”
In response to the problem, the language instruction company Rosetta Stone will begin offering Satire Recognition courses in April, 2015.