The media has been spreading hoaxes and doing the best it can to encourage division and conflict between the people groups in the United States. Today I’ve seen posts on social media about a girl taunted about having to sit in the back of a school bus. (obvious hoax, the back is where cool kids sit) A story about a hispanic woman harassed by white men in a big truck. And just now an anti-gay note that was allegedly left on a windshield by a Trump supporter.
So I started to wonder, how easy is it to start a hoax? Is it likely someone will pick it up for a story? Will they look at the photo critically attempting to spot any discrepancies which might question the story’s authenticity? I decided to find out.
I wrote “U Gon die tomarow (swastika symbol) Trump Cracka!” on a piece of paper and stuck it to my already cracked windshield (Damn trucks slinging gravel on the interstate) which I’ll claim to have seen my non-existant black neighbor do. Normally they like to focus on hoaxes where Trump supporters are the bad guy, but I don’t want to advance their narrative and I believe at this point they just want to stir up trouble in general. At the bottom of the paper I wrote teeny tiny “I can make stuff up too” to test if these things are scrutinized and ensure a failsafe lest this hoax get legs of its own and run away from me.
So now it’s time to post, and see what happens. This story will be updated with my findings.
— American🇺🇸Comrade (@WrongThinkBlog) November 10, 2016
Stage 1: People who follow me are starting to like comment on it, and I even got a DM from one of them. I feel absolutely horrible for misleading with them.
— Ali (@ARM1976) November 10, 2016
Stage 2: It starts to spread onto reddit.
@WrongThinkBlog Just posted it on Reddit.No one should break a car window because of a presidential candidate.
— Earl King (@Rapter5000) November 10, 2016
I feel so bad about lying to these people that I’m literally feeling nauseous. I can’t believe people do these hoaxes to bask in the sympathy. But yet, they do. Mike Cernovich has written about it in his article How to Spot a Media Hoax.
Stage 3: Momentum has stalled so I’m calling this experiment finished and coming clean. It’s possible if I leave it up it might still garner some attention but I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight knowing people believe this is real.
The main idea behind this story was to see if hoaxing was easy, even if a fairly obvious one with several clues as to it’s inauthenticity (line crack on windshield instead of spiderweb, tiny wording, it’s on a van not a car). But what I’ve discovered is far more profound. The mental and emotional impact perpetuating this hoax had upon my conscience. I’ve come to the conclusion that anyone doing this sort of thing in earnest either has a twisted sense of humor, is a sociopath, or is morally bankrupt.
I’d like to formally apologize to anyone I’ve upset or angered with this hoax story. I assure you my intentions with it were purely journalistic, and I don’t blame you a bit if you’re angry about it or hate me for it.. The truth is I hate myself a little, and I think I might take a shower. I feel dirty.