Wednesday November 22, 2017
Nov-03-2017 22:18TweetFollow @OregonNews
6 Girls Are Not to be Beheaded in Saudi ArabiaBonnie King Salem-News.com
Truth vs Click Bait: Can You See It?
(SALEM, Ore.) - Just because someone says it, writes it or prints it, doesn’t make it true. Remember when you heard that? Some lessons from childhood ring true, all through life. Take news, for example.
Many people “get their news” from facebook. That’s got it’s pros and cons. We only hope they know their sources.
So many online readers do little to find the source of so-called news articles that some of the same hoaxes reoccur, year after year, with very few challenges. They might think it makes no difference if “that type of thing really does happen”, but it does matter. The truth matters.
Maybe you've seen this: there’s a tragic story making the rounds right now of 6 young girls who are allegedly going to be beheaded by the Saudi Arabian government for having boys at a birthday party. The viral article asks for a world outcry to save the girls’ lives.
Shocking, but because Saudi Arabia has such a terrible track record for human rights violations, even a kid’s birthday party police crackdown is easily believable. That said, the article in question is absolutely FALSE.
This article was written, published and distributed to 1) make money, and 2) fuel the fervor of hate toward Islam.
Saudi Arabia commits plenty of human rights violations, so why not just try to keep up with the actual news instead of the attention-getting headlines, the click bait?
Just a few weeks ago, Saudi Arabia executed six people for murder and drugs all on a single day. Public beheading is the most common method of execution in Saudi Arabia. You can spend hours reading their crimes against humanity. So why make anything up?
If you’re well-versed in world history and pay attention to factual consequences, you may think these type of articles are simple satire and shouldn’t be taken seriously. That would be true, but they are hoaxes, meant to deceive not to entertain, and these type of sensational stories are easily believed by so many. And then, because they were convinced (duped), they share. And so on.
How do you know if it’s real news? Sometimes it takes more than a few seconds online, but you can usually discover the source of an article by a few simple searches – reverse engineer the article. Where did it come from? What are the dates of previous publications of the same?
For instance, this “6 Girls to be Beheaded” article that showed up several times on Facebook today. It just seemed odd. So, I checked it out.
Firstly, is it true?
No. They state that the info came from HRW (Human Rights Watch) and also the UN Human Rights Council. Both archives have been thoroughly researched and there is no such story of 6 girls (or any amount) that matches their details, date or description. It didn’t happen.
Second, who wrote it?
The article was published by wikileaksnews.co, which has no connection to the real WikiLeaks (wikileaks.org), but they have over 65,000 Twitter followers just the same. The text of the heart-breaking story is pretty short, a few paragraphs cluttered with ads you have to work through in order to read the words. At the bottom of the page, Wikileaksnews.co’s Twitter button doesn’t go to a news group, instead it directs readers to Envato (@envato), a “creative ecosystem of sites and services for digital assets and creative people”. Right, a host of unrelated but tempting sites that want you to click on them.
The Wikileaksnews.co staff didn’t write the article though. They republished it, sourcing “xxn”, which is CounterCurrentNews.info. Go to that site, and the same article appears. But again, that’s not where it came originated.
CounterCurrentNews.info republished it from WorldTruth.TV, where the same article appeared with the same amount of ads, and... they didn’t write it either.
WorldTruth.TV sourced Religionmind.com as the original author of said article.
Religionmind.com offers a myriad of sensational articles, including this one, with the DISCLAIMER: This site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering any advice, tangible service or professional service.
Exactly, it is NOT a news service, but people re-publish their product as if it is.
Where do we go from here? There is a great sense of urgency in the article, but no links or addresses in which to add your voice to the outcry. No petition, no court case info, no nothing. So, what’s a reader to do?
It doesn’t matter, not to the non-news site.
Credibility is not a factor as long as enough people click on the page, making money with each ad that appears to litter your potential reading experience. Their articles are more fantasy than fact, but they do have at least a shred of truth to hook the reader.
To further that point, Religionmind.com’s facebook page is “Theist vs Atheist”, an anti-Islamic propaganda page.
One of their dramatic articles is “Trump Meets Dalai Lama and Says He Will Not Go Ahead With Border Wall”, which is... interesting, even if completely inaccurate. (Oct2017)
Another easy-to-flag sensational story by this religious site was “China Bans Islam”. Thousands of people spread the story, probably never even reading more than the headline.
The truth is, No, the country of China did not ban Islam. However, a Chinese Province, Xinjiang, has made several moves in that direction this year, including banning of certain Muslim baby names that they deemed 'overly religious'1.
Using a piece of fact as a leader to a dubious story is an old tactic, practiced by high schoolers everywhere when creating content for an ill-prepared essay question.
As President Harry Truman said in 1948, “If you can't convince them, confuse them.” Or, in today’s lingo, “Baffle them with Bullshit”.
Sensational publishers aren’t looking to inform or explain, they are happy with confusion. As long as the readers just keep on clicking.
1China officially guarantees freedom of religion, but authorities have issued a series of measures in different areas recently in response to what it sees as a rise in religious extremism, while strongly denying committing any cultural and religious rights abuses.
Sources: Human Rights Watch; UN Human Rights Council; U.S. Dept. of State #clickbait #hoax #fakenews
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