Real or Fake

NYTimes is inviting people to guess which of several FB posts are “real” and which are “fake.” Here is an example:

OOne of these posts was
from a genuine Facebook
page that supports feminism,
and the other was part
of an influence campaign.
Can you guess which
post is from a fake page?



— OR —

— OR —

The newspaper claims that the second post is “real” while the first is “part of an influence campaign.” This is a very bizarre distinction to make because both are real if they exist in reality and the second one is very clearly trying to influence the way people behave, so it’s part of an influence campaign as much or more than the first.

Maybe by “real” and “fake” they mean good-intentioned or bad-intentioned? But that’s the most subjective thing in the world.

We could discuss which post is dumber but it’s FB. They both suck.

P.S. Sorry, the second one posted twice. It must because NYTimes really likes it.

7 thoughts on “Real or Fake

  1. I read this NYT “story.” Extremely shoddy journalism: contextless, without any sort of standards applied to what “fake” or “real” means, and uses examples that are simply puzzling.

    For instance, the one you have in this post with the “feminist father” t-shirt that the NYT dubbed fake. I first saw that image on Reddit in 2012-2014 (don’t remember exact year) so the image itself antedated the election by a good amount, and was not created by any influence group.

    This fake/real nonsense is just a sub rosa way of attempting to ban discourse that upsets the status quo.


    1. “Extremely shoddy journalism”

      I actually have some journalism training and have worked on newspapers, everything cited here (or elsewhere) from the NYT now fills me with vicarious shame (and whtie hot anger that an honorable profession has come to be so degraded).


    1. These are the examples the NYTimes gave. If they chose to feature clearly malicious posts, it would be a different story. But these ones? It makes no sense.


  2. I like to think I am smart enough to see through a propaganda campaign. Showing how hard it is to tell the difference between a vapid inspirational site and a site with 90%+ vapid inspiration and <10% propaganda could help dissuade me (and others) from that illusion. (edited for clarity from previous comment)


  3. The only things I can gather from that article is: 1) if the syntax and grammar are off, it’s from an influence campaign and 2)if you’re someone who turns their Facebook page into adult Tumblr you are dumb as rocks. Every single one of these memes is vapid as hell, but I guess sharing them is what happens when you see yourself as the CEO of your own content mill.

    Of course, if you were never the type of person to send chain letters or email forwards or WhatsApp forwards, you’re probably not sharing these kinds of posts on FaceBook.


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