What the “Fake News Game” taught me about propaganda

Recently I played the interactive “Fake News Game” on this site. The game put me into the shoes of a propagandist, and the objective was to gain as many followers as possible and maintain high credibility. At the start of the game, I was prompted to post a frustrated tweet with the government as the target of my criticisms. Doing so gained me eight followers. In order to establish some credibility, I was then prompted to either fake an official Twitter account or impersonate someone important. In choosing the option to fake an official Twitter, I discovered some of the tricks that fake accounts will use to make themselves appear as valid, such as slightly altering the spelling of a popular account or using an accent over one of the letters in the account name. These differences between fake accounts and real ones are so slight that they are often able to slide under the radar of unsuspecting Twitter users browsing their feed.

The next step of the game was to pick the option to create a fake news site, dedicated to sharing disinformation to my followers. As the game went on, I was prompted to share a series of headlines and tweets about fake news stories that would appeal to the emotions of my followers. By the end of the game, I scored 10,470 followers on my fake news account, all by spreading disinformation that people bought! This game gave me a great inside look at how disinformation can be spread on a wide scale by accounts that have no actual factual information. It was interesting to see how the headlines that I picked had to be false information, but sound just viable enough that my followers would buy it and my credibility would increase. This game is a great way to see how fake news is spread, and how easy it is to get followers to spread information that has no facts behind it!

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