Hoaxes in the internet are becoming increasingly popular in social networks these days and they are certainly not a joke of bored teenagers.
This is not the first time, nor the last one, in which a public figure just “die” in social networks. The allegedly death of Michael Jordan last July 17th is another fake news spread in the Web 3.0
Facebook hosted the story this time. On some other occasion, it has been Twitter or a digital website. Personalities from the entertaining world, sports, finances, and also politicians have been the target of some bored people for such innocent entertainment.
The reason can be marketing, or even politics, as some want to pull the strings of the false news until the truth comes to light. Nonetheless, lots of readers are misinformed in the process. The news of the death of famous U.S. basketball player Michael Jordan quickly became trending topic with hundreds of thousands likes from Internet users. A website devoted to express sympathy was created.
If the sneakers used by Michael Jordan back in the Olympic Games of 1984 were sold at auction in 190,000 USD, how much would this news cost if true?
The vice-president of the company in charge of the selling stated that “the high price of the sneakers proves that Michael Jordan is unique in the market of memorable stuffs used in a game”.
It is true that social networks are becoming paramount for people. “You should understand this fact. It has been a battle of twenty years. Social networks are not like television, press, radio, as they were for so long,” said Ignacio Ramonet —director of the Spanish version of Le Monde Diplomatique, and specialist in international strategy and geopolitics— to La Jiribilla.
Social networks release the fake news and the most important mass media immediately publish the mistake, as those media with higher incomes are the ones with higher publicity as well. And it is true that money is sometimes more important that the veracity of news.
In coherence with it, the term post-truth was recently adhered to both languages, English and Spanish.
Post-truth is that statement not based on tangible facts but “resort to emotions, beliefs, or desires of the public.”
Other specialists just see it as lies and fake news disguised with reality.
The goal of these lies goes beyond entertainment. Every year more than 500 billion USD are assigned to advertising as investment. Thus, such strategies cannot be viewed in isolation from these lies.
Allen Montgomery, founder of a fake news website in U.S., confessed shamelessly that his website is underpinned by the “idea of strengthening the beliefs of people as well as confirming with lies people’s prejudices.”
“Some of the news we have posted yielded us 10 thousand dollars. Whenever we hit the mark and boost these stories, we earn thousands of dollars.”
And these lies are good to either promote a product in the market or divert attention on a political event, just to mention two things.
“All the branches of knowledge —from Anthropology to Neuroscience— have been aimed at generating addiction to consumption. On behalf of freedom prejudices, desires, and the needs of people are manipulated. While conventionality, fear, resignation, and the primary instinct of self-preservation are fostered,” confirmed historian and lawyer Ernesto Limia Diaz in his article Pensar o no Pensar.
Last year, a research carried out in local U.S. TV stations revealed that almost 40% of editorial policies did not included a guide on how to manage the information in social networks, and more than 30% of their bulletins reported fake news.
It is not, of course, an exclusive phenomenon of the U.S. Globalization also includes the globalization of lies, although some search engines try hard to stop them with different strategies.
Ultimately, we will not know who decided to “kill” Michael Jordan in July. But we can say for sure that these hoaxes are not innocent at all.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff