Twitter, Facebook deal with more effects of fake news

In a year in which “fake” news became a news story itself, it should probably come as no surprise that the year is ending with more fake headlines making real headlines.

And leave it to Twitter and Facebook to be in the middle of it all.

Let’s begin with Twitter, that repository for more and more breaking news, and thus, a place where people are going more and more to get their daily information on what’s going on in the world. On Monday, Sony Music said its Twitter account had been hacked–and tweets saying that “singer” (Is it safe to call her that?) Britney Spears had died had been sent out.

Needless so say, in a year when so many well-known musicians and entertainers have died, including, most recently, George Michael, on Christmas day, it would be no surprise if hearing about the death of another big-name music star on Twitter would be taken as gospel by a sizable piece of the general public.

Sony said it caught the hack early and apologized to Spears, who is very much still alive.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s Safety Check feature has been used on numerable occasions for people located near disasters or accidents so that they could let family and friends know that they were safe. On Tuesday, Safety Check was falsely activated by a flurry of news about a bombing in Bangkok, and Facebook users began to rush to check out information about the bombing and let people know they were safe.

The only problem with that was that there was no bombingĀ in Bangkok whatsoever.

The flood of reports of the alleged bombing was enough to override Facebook’s Safety Check algorithm and turn the feature on at 9 p.m. Bangkok time. Safety Check was then deactivated about an hour later as it was determined that there had been no bombing in the city.

Photo: Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Sony Music said its Twitter account was hacked and fake news tweets about the death of Britney Spears were sent during the hack. Facebook also said its Safety Check feature was activated after fake reports about a bombing in Bangkok that wasn’t real.


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