Facebook for me is synonymous with three things: babies, cats, and fake news. We’ve all seen that in the past few years there’s been an emerging trend on social media for spoofed news stories to circulate.
Yes, sites like The Onion exist to be acerbic and hilarious. But it’s the more troubling sites where unsuspecting (read stupid) users believe that the ‘news’ that they’re reading is real. I think a lot of these people have stayed up way too late on Reddit reading conspiracy theories, too.
So, an ingenious group of techs and sociologists from The University of Cambridge have developed a game that might just help us train our brains to recognise fake news. Bad News has been designed to help people understand how fake news stories spread online.
The ten-minute game works by letting players build up a social following by choosing stirring headlines and images to share online with their imaginary fans. They can also impersonate celebrities and spread incorrect information to gain extra achievements in the game.
Here’s what the makers said about their game:
“In this game you take on the role of fake news-monger. Drop all pretence of ethics and choose the path that builds your persona as an unscrupulous media magnate. But keep an eye on your ‘followers’ and ‘credibility’ meters. Your task is to get as many followers as you can while slowly building up fake credibility as a news site. But watch out: you lose if you tell obvious lies or disappoint your supporters.”
It’s a really clever use of technology here, especially for young people who are probably most likely to encounter fake news.
Before and after the game you take a brief quiz of your ability to detect fake tweets. Hopefully through your own misdemeanours you’ll have learnt something!