Was Queen Elizabeth II actually not a human but a lizard? Not all fake news is equally devastating.
Readers’ accusation that Tamedia headlines are spreading fake news has rarely been voiced since the Corona pandemic subsided. Meanwhile, coverage of the war in Ukraine has so far not raised any complaints, which was unexpected given the allegations of previous criticism of Vladimir Putin. So does the timely flow of articles, analysis and commentary on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Club of Rome Research Center concluded in its latest “Land for All” report that the most important challenge of our time is not climate change, biodiversity loss or pandemic, but “our collective inability to distinguish between fact and fiction.” Which considers social media to be responsible for spreading misinformation, i.e. false news.
While the diagnosis may confirm cultural pessimists, communication researchers express their concerns. They complain that the term fake news is too vague or covers too wide a range of news. The range ranges from government disinformation campaigns, as in the case of the Ukraine war, to false information unknowingly disseminated, to completely fake news spread for purely commercial reasons.
Events such as the storming of the US Capitol show that the spread of fake news can have real consequences.
Leipzig-based communications scientist Christian P. Hoffmann says in the daily Die Welt that concerns about the term led him to conclude that, first, “hardly any convincing effects of fake news can be demonstrated in the information system already in place” and second, “most interventions against fake news are hardly possible.” It has an impact because there isn’t much to contain.”
This conclusion does not apply to the United States, at least, where Fox News continues to unscrupulously broadcast “Donald Trump’s big lie” that he was cheated in the 2020 presidential election, a fact that most Republican politicians now claim. In addition, events such as the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 show that the spread of fake news can have real consequences.
On the other hand, the false news circulated by fact-checkers on social media after the death of Queen Elizabeth on September 8 is harmless. For example, conspiracy theorists from the American community Qunun claimed on Facebook that the British Queen died “some time” before September 8 and accused the king of having contacts with pedophiles or child traffickers. In contrast, it was said on Twitter that she died because she was vaccinated against Covid-19. On Tiktok, a user explained that Elizabeth II is not actually a human but a lizard and comes from the distant constellation Draco. Finally, it was reported on Instagram that American pop musician Prince, who died on April 21, 2016, had sacrificed him as a gift for the Queen, whose birthday was on the same day.
What is the name of the British national anthem at the end of your life? “God bless the Queen.” Nobody can protect you from fake news anymore.
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