Late last year my news feed got filled with talks of fake news and political commentary that seemed more appropriate in a WWE match. I started wondering why the hell do I have to figure out what is fake news and what is real news as a reader. One solution would be to hop on a plane every time there is a breaking story and see what is going on but nobodies paying me for that and I’d rather travel somewhere relaxing than hectic.
I finally found a good instance to showcase where fake news comes from, how to spot it, and why it’s more of an annoyance than an actual problem.
Last week, my news feed briefly showed that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge would be attending 42nd St. in London on opening night in order to raise funds for the nook appeal. I wanted to post about it on Twitter but couldn’t find anything and had to search for 30 minutes to find the info I needed. The reason I had to search for so long is because my feed was bogged down with the following piece of fake news.
While the news could very well be real, it has all the smells of a made up story. In programming the phrase “code smells” is used to indicate that the code has characteristics of sloppy programming. In transferring this phrase across industries, this means sloppy (or made up) journalism.
The first thing noticeable about fake news; for instance big foot sightings; is that the pictures aren’t recent, not related to the story, grainy, or out of focus.
In the case of this particular story, the pictures are from a 2012 ski trip with then Prince William. A reverse image search on Google brought up these results. This lead to a 2012 article in Hello Magazine that features the exact same pictures including Pippa and Carole Middleton.
What’s funny is that this story was picked up by
I’m almost surprised CNN and Fox aren’t on the list and I’m reminded of the story featuring Sum Ting Wong (“something wrong”), Wi Tu Lo (“we too low”), Ho Lee Fuk (“holy f*ck”), and Bang Ding Ow in 2013.
As you’ll note from all of the articles, none of them feature any recent pictures of The Duchess of Cambridge skiing. The Daily mail uses a younger picture of The Duchess which you can compare with a recent picture of lovely appearance at the National Portrait Gallery last week.
The Daily Mail has the other two stories related to invasion of privacy. If you look closely at the video of The Duke of Cambridge, you’ll notice that it is very grainy and the pictures of The Duke and Duchess leaving the engagement party of Pippa Middleton are also very grainy.
My guess is these were taken without permission or were fabricated in a studio to get some internet points based on The Duchess’ popularity. The biggest story here is that this gossip is taking attention away from a charity event that will improve the lives of the people of Norfolk.