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Fake Bomb News Fools Thousands
December 28th, 2016 | 07:49 AM | 942 views
There was no explosion in Bangkok Tuesday evening, although thousands of people worldwide were hoodwinked into thinking there was.
"News" of a bomb explosion in Bangkok spread like wildfire on Facebook and Line Tuesday evening, but the story was false.
Users by the thousands clicked on the fake Facebook page, "The Explosion in Bangkok, Thailand" that they were safe, after the site reported there was an explosion somewhere in the city.
It provided no details of the alleged blast, but hookwinked a large number of social media users into messaging friends and family they had survived, unhurt.
The news spread worldwide. The Bangkok Post received worried inquiries from as close as Malaysia and as far away as the US state of Colorado, where relatives of Thais frantically searched for news of the "Bangkok bomb".
Clueless "news" sites around the world were instantly taken in and re-reported the fake news, without checking - but as if it were confirmed.
Technology website TheVerge.com blamed Facebook.
"Facebook got fooled by its own algorithm," it reported. "The social network falsely activated its Safety Check feature after a flood of fake news suggested that there was an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand.
"Users in the country saw an alert to mark themselves safe, but saw little details about when or where in Bangkok the "explosion" occurred.
"Safety Check came on at around 9pm local time and was deactivated about an hour later."
The fake news of a Tuesday explosion proved to have been triggered by faulty Facebook algorithms.
The company has installed the algorithms in its "news feed" - ironically because of recent panics in the United States that people were being misled by false news reports.
When Facebook's news service "saw" an old report of the August, 2015, Erawan Shrine bomb attack, its algorithms kicked in automatically, but re-reported the news happened Tuesday evening.
The initial report was then tracked back early Wednesday to a "news" site called Bankok Informer, and a story it ran Tuesday on the Erawan attack.
That site was pulled off the internet late Tuesday, claiming it had a maintenance problem.
But because the internet never forgets, the trail of the fake news is still clear despite the attempt by Bangkok Informer to memory-hole its role.
It now is clear that the fake bomb story began when BangkokInformer.com, shortly after 8pm on Tuesday, picked up and ran this (below) old video-report by the BBC on the Erawan Shrine bombing of Aug 17, 2015.
After that, algorithms clicked in, especially on Facebook, and the fake news took off worldwide.
courtesy of BANGKOK POST
by BANGKOK POST
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