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It's no joke: Across globe, satire morphs into misinformation

By Anuj Chopra, Mary Kulundu and Saladin Salem

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Several satirical outlets mimic legitimate media websites, often sowing confusion among readers with what appear to be typical news articles but are in fact fabricated stories.

Swift's A Modest Proposal was not taken in its day as the satire it was supposed to be.

With more content now maybe many people's reading comprehension is becoming fatigued?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Simply, the world is so crazy now that it is nearly impossible to distinguish satire from fact. It's a very difficult time to be a satirist when the truth is more ridiculous than anything one can dream up.

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The humorous fiction often makes the internet erupt with laughter, but researchers are not laughing about its potential to fool the public, which sometimes includes media organizations.

Fooling people that know no better is one thing (problematic enough when amplified in social media), but fooling media organizations? in that case the problem is not satire but complete lack of profesionalism of people whose work is precisely investigate things and publish only those that can be reasonably corroborated. There is no excuse to a professional media outlet to report as true something clearly identified as satire originally. It should be treated as irresponsible and dangerous as a doctor prescribing something useless or even dangerous just because he heard it works in a youtube video.

Last month, authentic-looking imposter or parody accounts proliferated on Twitter, pretending to be celebrities or companies, after it first rolled out a paid subscription service.

This is a completely different thing, Musk decided to give without any control a batch of authenticity that was previously reserved to accounts that were carefully validated. People can't be blamed to believing the accounts were real in that situation.

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It's no joke, satire has morphed into mis-info:

This is true, for not many people could distinguish a satire from an info.

Satire/parody ( sometimes packed with absurdity ) are too often mistaken as real, prompting people to assume it as misinformation.

Too much satire can be poor taste too..

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Too many "The Onion" articles have, out of context, been taken for real news for anyone to retain confidence in a sizeable minority of people to distinguish between satire and truth.

Perhaps that is because some people WANT to believe crazy stuff.

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From what I have read, satire being taken as reality is not new. I read an article stating that the Aryan superiority mythology that was so popular with the Nazis started out as a joke.

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Some of the best satire sails very close to the wind, and even so-called "experts" can't tell whether it's real. One example that comes to mind was by Alan Sokal.


Another was by Pluckrose, Boghossian and Lindsay, who had a bit of fun a couple of years back using satire to highlight the stratospheric BS that is grievance studies. The best part was they they wrote a whole series of parodies of the discipline, or whatever you might call it, before the journal editors got wind of what was going on.


We've got our own satirist right here on JT:

It should be treated as irresponsible and dangerous as a doctor prescribing something useless or even dangerous just because he heard it works in a youtube video.

Champagne comedy.

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