The internet: where fiction becomes fact

In all media it’s a matter of checking and double checking the source of a news item. On the internet however, things happen so fast that it’s easy for false rumours to spread like wildfire. The other day, it came to light that Elan Gale (a producer for ABC, thus entitled to some credibility) had set up a fake Twitter fight with a fellow passenger while on a flight.

Of course this came to light after The Mirror, Yahoo!, Buzzfeed and Jezebel had helped spreading the hoax. Without knowing it of course. Meaning that no less than 5 completely different sites treated this story as true. Admittedly, it can be tricky confirming a story like that, when anyone who could verify it is packed together on an airplane in the sky. Still, the fact that  something like this spreads without any questions asked is something to think about.

In this case it might just be a silly prank, but sites like The Mirror, Yahoo! and The Huffington Post also go over actual news. Let’s hope they do a better job at checking their facts when it comes to more important things.

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