When Legitimate Publications Become Fake News

Loren Grush at the Verge:

Last night, a twitter account by the name of @solikearose tweeted out a surprising image of CNN broadcasting porn instead of Anthony Bourdain’s scheduled show Parts Unknown. And then without really much questioning, a bunch of news sites ran with it, claiming that the network showed the footage for about 30 minutes. […]

It looks like the chaos all started when The Independent wrote up a story from this person’s tweets, which was then tweeted out by the Drudge Report. After that, it spread fast. Mashable, The New York Post, The Daily Mail, Esquire, and Variety have all published a story, and pretty much all of these articles are based on one or two tweets from @solikerose. […]

I would expect this from teenagers giving hot takes on Facebook. These, however, are supposed to be legitimate publications. Just because someone tweets it does not mean it’s true, this is internet 101. This is lazy journalism in an attempt to get the clicks.

Loren again:

[…] this is exactly how fake news spreads. Even if porn was aired on CNN, it’s clear that a lot of publications ran with a story based on tweets from one person before verifying the facts. Many of the headlines already implicate CNN, claiming the channel aired 30 minutes of porn without giving any context.

The stakes might not seem very high in this case, but fake news seems to have played a major role during the 2016 presidential campaign. Mistakes like this won’t be very funny when they cost us more than a laugh.