It’s a common expe­ri­ence. You log on to Face­book for your lunchtime fix of friends’ baby photos and links to fas­ci­nating online con­tent from trusted sites like Slate, when you come across an intriguing head­line such as “Stephen Hawking’s Blunder on Black Holes Shows Danger of Lis­tening to Sci­en­tists, Says Bach­mann” or “Sochi Hotel Guests Com­plain About Top­less Por­traits of Putin in Rooms”.

These sto­ries aren’t real. They’re the work of the New Yorker’s not-​​particularly-​​funny online satirist Andy Borowitz, but many people, not just your gullible Face­book friends, invari­ably believe them. Some­times the offi­cial state news agen­cies of global super­powers believe them.

Most of us—though unfor­tu­nately not all of us—are now aware that Onion arti­cles aren’t real, but the pro­lif­er­a­tion of online parody and fake news has cre­ated an envi­ron­ment where many people are simply accepting fake news as fact. The bizarrely humor­less Daily Cur­rant and the often-​​pretty-​​funny mil­i­tary satire site Duffel Blog have been par­tic­u­larly adept at duping the news reading masses.

Read the article at Slate →