NATO’s Latest Weapon: A Facebook Game For Fake News Countering

NATO’s Latest Weapon: A Facebook Game For Fake News Countering

NATO's answer to fake news spreading: a Facebook game. Gamers are placed in charge of a publishing company and have to choose which stories are real and which not, before authorizing publication. The more accurate the articles turn to be, the more points they earn. Suggested headlines range from "Melania Trump Hired Exorcist To ‘Cleanse White House Of Obama Demon'", to "Icelandic Government Collapses Amid Pedophilia Scandal". Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the first lady finally told the AP that the story was "not true in any way". As a recent MIT study shows, they almost always beat out the truth on Twitter. "It might have something to do with human nature," co-author Soroush Vosoughi told the Atlantic. On the other hand the Icelandic government article (originally run by Foreign Policy), disturbing as it may be, appears to be accurate, which seems to suggest that is not always easy to distinguish fact from fiction. Luckily for them, The News Hero players can get access to a fact-checking tool which will provide hints on how to verify incoming stories and, as the game unfolds, can also hire new 'assistants' to help them make the right decisions. The app, which took eight people and four months to make, is divided into three difficulty levels and was designed with the ultimate goal of bursting "the bubble of an elite dominated discussion about critical thinking and empower the society to become more conscious users of media through a gamified approach," no less.

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A screenshot from The News Hero The News Hero

NATO’s answer to fake news spreading: a Facebook game. Latvia-based NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (NATO StratCom COE) unveiled last week The News Hero, a social game designed to help readers identify online misinformation.

Gamers are placed in charge of a publishing company and have to choose which stories are real and which not, before authorizing publication. The more accurate the articles turn to be, the more points they earn. Suggested headlines range from “Melania Trump Hired Exorcist To ‘Cleanse White House Of Obama Demon'”, to “Icelandic Government Collapses Amid Pedophilia Scandal”.

What’s chilling is that most of these headlines are not invented, but were actually used in online articles.

The Melania Trump story, for instance, was run by untrustworthy web site YourNewsWire in February 2018, and was later picked up by other conservative outlets. Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the first lady finally told the AP that the story was “not true in any way”.

The very fact that Grisham had to make an official statement to debunk such utter nonsense, speaks volumes about the power of fake news. As a recent…

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