fakeSharkYou too may have seen this image which went viral on social media and whose “popularity” fuelled justified anger from National Geographic. This image was stated as the winner of The National Geographic Photo of the Year – which obviously was untrue. I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with Nat Geo when they said that it is sad that a computer-generated image gets more social attention than real-life-hard-earned photographs do. I mean, how can you compare this image, with this awe-inspiring photo below? Now this is the true winner of the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year: Sardine Run, South Africa by G. Lecoeur:



But what does that say about us – the people who “Like” and “Share” the fakeness? Is this another way we are disconnecting from reality and accepting anything and everything we see on social media? It used to be said: “Don’t believe everything you see on TV”. But now I think “TV” should be replaced with “Social Media”. At this point, you may be asking yourself: “so what’s the big deal?”.

National Geographic’s Daniel Stone said that “… fake anything circulating as real is a threat to those of us in the business of telling the truth. Untrue stories also erode the trust of anyone who consumes the truth, and who looks to professionals for authenticity, not practical jokes, hoaxes, and counterfeiting.”

Well, gullible-ness can be scary, I mean if the obviously-fake image above could be believed to be real by certain social twitters, what else are they capable of believing?

Take the case of Paul Horner, a proud fake news “reporter”, who claims he credited Donald Trump’s election in part to his fake news stories. “[Trump’s] campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.” Horner’s made up news stories were reportedly widely shared by Trump supporters and staff members. Horner blamed the people who shared his fake news, saying that they should not share stories without fact-checking them first.

This has lead Hillary Clinton to call on a crack-down on fake news, she has also asked Congress to find a way to stop this “threat to democracy”.

So even if these fake stories are done in jest, one can never underestimate the far-reaching ramifications of others’ gullible-ness…