‘If a Story Is Viral, Truth May Be Taking a Beating’

Ravi Somaiya and Leslie Kaufman, reporting for the NYT on a string of “viral” stories that garnered millions of page views, all which stories turned out to be false:

“The faster metabolism puts people who fact-check at a disadvantage,” said Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post, which reposted the fictional airplane tweets, the letter to Santa and the poverty essay. “If you throw something up without fact-checking it, and you’re the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it’s proved false, you still got those views. That’s a problem. The incentives are all wrong.”

Think about that. The guy who allowed all three stories to run says it’s a problem and the incentives are all wrong. I’ve been saying for years that page view-based advertising is a corrupting force. This is where it leads.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013