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.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.