- I went to Downtown to ask people on the street if they could tell the difference between real and fake news.
- “That’s why I though it was real, because I had seen it on Facebook, ” Marky, a Springfield resident, said.
- People constantly consume fake news daily, and it’s important to know the difference.
- There weren’t many people, but there were results.
Man on the Street
The year 2016 was swarmed with ‘fake news.’ In response, I took to the streets of downtown Springfield to see if citizens can tell the difference between this real story:
and this fake one:
The fake story received over 1,000,000 shares on Facebook.
It was a mild chilly Monday night, and I headed downtown. I had myself, my cameraman and a tablet, waiting to see who would be eager to guess which story is real and which story was fake.
I had no success early on. Not only was it slim pickings with it being a Monday night, but not a lot of people were interested in talking to me about the dangers of fake news.
But I met Cameron, a young man who just got off work and was eager to talk to me. He was confident that he knew the difference, and he was right.
After Cameron, I walked up and down Park Central Square and around the entire area. I began to lose hope due to the amount of people.
I then ran into a young couple and talked to them for some time and they as well were able to tell the difference, and it puzzled me.
How could people be so quick to point out what was real and what wasn’t? Was it that I picked the wrong set of articles and it was common sense? I knew I wasn’t going to trick them and pick two obvious false articles. But maybe it was the demographic. Maybe age plays a factor into it.
Then I met another couple; they were probably either in their very late 20s or early 30s. They were walking near Park Central Square with their son. It was my cameraman who actually suggested I talk to them.
They read the articles as their child kept saying “that’s awesome, dude” and the husband picked correctly but his significant other got it wrong. What? But it worked. My experiment worked. But her reasoning behind her choice was more alarming than the choice.
“That’s why I though it was real, because I had seen it on Facebook,” she said.
So, with her seeing it previously, she had believed it and then continued to believe it until I unfortunately had to tell her it wasn’t real. But she took it well.