I recently played the Fake News Game, which was a lot of fun and very eye-opening! If you want to play this game, you can access it Here.
This game led you through a series of questions, prompting you to make posts on social media in order to gain followers while maintaining your credibility. At first I tried to go through this game ethically. I was able to make a few ethical decisions initially, but soon the game made it impossible for you to keep going on this track. The game forced you to lie and spread misinformation. The more misinformation I spread, the more followers I received. I thought that my credibility would go down when I continued to spread misinformation, but I was surprised to see that my credibility stayed pretty much the same throughout the whole game.
One of the first things this game had me do was create my own fake news site. The game forced me to post emotional content because it claimed that the best was to gain followers was to “exploit a persons most basic emotions.” One of my first fake news stories was a post that claimed climate change is a hoax. This story gained me many followers because people were attracted to this conspiracy theory.
Next, I made a fake post to generate anger. I posted a picture of an injured dog and the caption “Dog kicked and left for dead.” This post also increased my follower count. I have seen posts like this on my own Twitter feed. Normally, I am drawn to these posts because I am a huge animal lover. It is very eye-opening to see that I may have been a victim to misinformation.
The game also prompted me to use “twitter bots” which is a computer program designed to like, retweet and respond to a post in order to make it more popular. Increasing the popularity of a post increases its credibility and makes it more believable. At this point, I was starting to catch on as to how to play this game. The more lies I spread, the more followers I got.
Eventually, a site called “Fact-Checked” called me out and made it clear that I was spreading lies. The only solution to this problem was to attack them back. I spread lies about the news site who “outted” me. By doing this I reduced that site’s credibility and made my own site look more believable.
By the end of the game, I had over 8 thousand followers. While playing this game, it was easy to see what needed to be done in order to get a large amount of followers. This game has definitely made me more aware of some misinformation that may appear on my own Twitter feed.