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8 different types of Fake News, and how to spot them

Since the election of Donald Trump, “Fake news” have been among the biggest trends on Google. Facebook and Google are under pressure to find a solution to the problem. A few bloggers or powerful world leaders are accused of modifying the outcome of the US elections. And everyone seems to discover that “oh, but not everything is true on the internet ?”.

Here are the seven different types of fake news,
so that you’re never caught off-guard again.

type 1:  The “good ole Prank” fake news

Best example: Crop Circles

Crop Circlessource: http://www.collective-evolution.com

In the 1970s, mysterious crop circles began appearing overnight in wheat fields all over England—elaborate designs, perfectly circular, intricate and beautiful.

Observers were convinced they were too perfect to have been made by human means, and that they were signs of alien beings trying to communicate with us.

However, the circles remained mysterious, for more than 20 years. Finally, in 1991, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, a couple of pranksters, admitted to creating the crop circles using simple ropes, hats and wire as their only tools.

Type 2: The “personal revenge” fake news

Greatest example: The loch Ness monster’s photograph – 1934

Taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London gynaecologist, this is the first picture of the Loch Ness Monster, which was published in the Daily Mail on 21 April 1934.

Loch Ness Monsterhttp://www.eonline.com

The creature was reportedly a toy submarine built by Christian Spurling, the son-in-law of Marmaduke Wetherell. Wetherell had been publicly ridiculed by his employer, the Daily Mail, after he found “Nessie footprints” which turned out to be a hoax.

To get revenge on the Mail, Wetherell perpetrated his hoax with co-conspirators Spurling (sculpture specialist), Ian Wetherell (his son, who bought the material for the fake), and Maurice Chambers (an insurance agent). He sold the first photo to the Daily Mail, who then announced that the monster had been photographed

The toy submarine was bought from F. W. Woolworths, and its head and neck were made from wood putty. After testing it in a local pond the group went to Loch Ness, where Ian Wetherell took the photos near the Altsaigh Tea House. (source: wikipedia)

type 3: the professional advertising stunt

Best example: the “I hope she was worth it” spray-painted on 100,000$ Range Rover

range roversource: http://www.bbc.com

This story was published by every news outlet on the planet on May 4th, 2016. Witnesses said they “saw a woman spray-painting the car.” and going crazy.
10 days later, it was revealed that the story was in fact an advertising stunt for an American comedy drama called “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce”. (source : http://www.mirror.co.uk)

Type 4: the political lobbying

This type is the one you heard about lately. Here are just a few recent examples:
The Pizzagate: A child abuse ring led by Clinton
and her campaign chairman, John Pedestal
Denzel Washington Backing Trump In The Most Epic Way Possible

Type 5: the activist fake news

Here are two of the best examples:
Rainforest protectors: loggers cutting down oldest tree on earth
rainforest
The story went as follows: Illegal loggers at the frontier of the Peruvian and Brazilian border had cut down the world’s oldest tree, in Matsés Indigenous Reserve. The article raised angry protests all around the world.
However, it was later revealed that the story had been made up entirely, to bring more people to the cause of forest protection.
Anti-abortion activists : mobile abortion services
abortion clinic

Type 6: the auto-promotion fake news

Here are two good examples:
The Amityville horror house
amityville

George and Kathy Lutz were the owners of the famed haunted house on 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York. They claimed that shortly after moving into the house they fled in terror driven out by paranormal activity, including icy drafts and bleeding walls.

They recounted their story to author Jay Anson, who wrote a successful novel of the events at the house, which in turned spawned a hit movie.  It was later revealed that lawyer William Weber along with the Lutzes, made up the story.

Orson Welles’ war of worlds

war of worldssource: http://www.slate.com

On the evening of Oct. 30, 1938, a news broadcast went out over the radio that shook the nation. Alien spacecrafts from Mars had landed in New Jersey, and Martian invaders were on the move, attacking humans as the U.S. Army fought back.
The broadcast was not real, of course, and in fact it was identified at the beginning as a radio play of the famous H.G. Wells novel, The War of the Worlds. Unfortunately, it was so realistic that people who tuned in after the beginning believed it was really happening. Mass panic and frenzy ensued, and many across the nation were convinced the end was near.
The next day, the New York Times front page headline screamed, “Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact. Many Flee Homes to Escape ‘Gas Raid From Mars.'” You just can’t buy publicity like that. The long and storied career of Orson Welles, who was the mastermind behind the broadcast, was born. (http://www.alternet.org)

Type 7: the lifestyle mockery fake news

Some people just can’t get used to the fact that the world changes. So they publish fake news to mock those who create or follow the trend.
Here is a good example: the Pedestrian e-lanes of Philadelphia
Pedestrian e-lanes in Philadelphia
for people who read on their phone while walking
pedestrian e-lanes
Pedestrians walk through an “e-lane” on April 2, 2012, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter used April Fool’s Day to have a little fun with what he says is a real problem: distracted walking.
City officials painted lines and oblivious stick-figure pictures on one stretch of John F. Kennedy Boulevard near City Hall as a jab at pedestrians who keep their eyes on their cellphone screens instead of their surroundings.
The funniest part of that hoax is that the e-lanes became a reality a few years later, in China and in Germany. I guess we’ll see more examples of that “not so stupid idea” in other capitals soon.

Type 8: The “Are you really that stupid?” fake news

Great example: There are hundreds of that type on Youtube, but I’ll drop just one here so that you get the idea: the Onion and Gatorade Charger.
How to charge an iPad with gatorade and an onion.
Pay attention to the seriousness of the explanations.
 

 

There is an important conclusion to this funny post: Whatever you read, weather on the internet, in your newspapers or in a schoolbook, always ask yourself if what you’re reading serves the interest of certain people or communities. If you feel it might, then go double or triple check the information before believing what you read.
Always be looking for the personal interest behind every news that you read