Harry Potter, SNL, Facebook, & Fake News

Over a month ago, Facebook made the news when it announced that it was going to roll out a feature which allowed it’s users to report news that was fake or had false information in it. A great idea (in my opinion) which doesn’t seem to have started working yet. It also doesn’t account for people posting a true article with a fake or misleading caption of their own.

Last Friday, I saw articles being shared all over Facebook that a new Harry Potter movie was being made based on the play The Cursed Child and that the original cast would be reprising their roles of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Big entertainment websites were reporting this and people were sharing it saying how excited they were.

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The only problem was that it was not true. J.K. Rowling, the creator of all things Harry Potter, had tweeted it herself on her personal twitter account that these rumors had no truth and that it wasn’t happening.

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I mean, I’m not sure what time zones these people were reporting from, but look at the time zones on the tweet she made and the article shared on Facebook. According to those, she tweeted a good 30 minutes before the article was even shared that this was fake but they “reported” it anyways. AND, Movie Pilot did not even make a correction to the article until Jan. 23rd, three days later. Even then, they left the article title intact so you may share it without even reading the article because the correction is halfway down the article on the website. You have to scroll to see it. I reported some of these articles (because I am passionate about my Harry Potter) with Facebook’s new fake news feature, but yet they are still there and still being shared by people who don’t actually read the article.

But in the grand scheme of things, it’s just Harry Potter. Not like they are reporting about some big political thing or government hearing so it’s OK, right?

Now here is a situation that is trickier for Facebook to monitor and requires more work on your part.

I saw someone on Facebook today post this article from USA Today with the following caption:

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Now, the article itself, is actually all true. You can read it here if you want to. Basically, a writer for SNL tweeted a joke about Barron Trump to which there was backlash and she got fired by SNL. I will say that I am not a huge fan of Trump and I even agreed that the joke was inappropriate for many reasons. Anyways, this article is TRUE. But then…

7 minutes later the same person posts this status on Facebook:

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The last sentence is what we are really focusing on here. They said “…I do not know how anyone would continue to watch the show unless that writer is let go”. This is AFTER they just posted an article stating that same writer WAS let go. This indicates, to me, that they did not read the previous article (or headline) because exactly what they are asking for has already happened! Now, if you only read their status you might think “how unjust, this person should lose their job” when in fact they already have. And there is no button on Facebook to report this kind of activity. Someone spreading false information as truth.

So what can you do? I think we all need to really read and consider what we share on social media. Don’t just share or retweet something because of the title. Also, you need to constantly keep things updated. For example, if you shared an article about a new Harry Potter movie and then later found it that isn’t true, I think you are responsible to delete or undo your retweet about that.

– Jacob

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My Problem With SNL

This is a meaningless post.

Don’t get me wrong, I love SNL.  I have watched it for as long as I can remember and am never one of those people who say things like “it’s not as good as it once was” or “now that so-and-so left there is no point in watching anymore”.  Of course I miss Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader but I also love the new cast members from this season like Noel Wells and Beck Bennett (despite their sometimes low screen time).  But recently it seems like the “live” aspect of SNL is going away.

Take last week’s episode hosted by Jonah Hill.  Three of the eight skits were pre-taped and not performed in front of the audience but rather shown on a screen.  Two of the three weren’t even funny (in my opinion).  The only good one from the night was the parody of the Her trailer.  And that is something that I think is a good use of a pre-taped skit.  The other two skits which consisted of some hit men sitting in a car enjoying the snow and a rabbit and one about some SoCal boys hosting a semi-talk show in their friends house could have been done live.  The show does plenty of talk show skits live and the hit men skit could have worked live as well.  There was no need for it to be pre-recorded.

Pre-taped skits should consist of fake movie trailers, fake commercials and music videos.  If they aren’t one of those things I think it should be done live.

How about you?  What are some of your favorite SNL skits?

-Jacob

Arcade Fire’s Awesomely Weird 30 Minute Concert

Last night was the debut of the new season of SNL hosted by Tina Fey and musical guest Arcade Fire.  I love SNL and think they can do no wrong so I was super excited!  It’ll take me some time to get used to the new cast members and the gaping hole that Bill Hader has left on the show, but overall I think it’ll be great!  I loved all the Aaron Paul cameo’s last night and the return of Drunk Uncle!

I’m not a fan of Arcade Fire.  I have heard of them before but their music never really grabbed a hold of me.  Both times they played during SNL I “watched” but used that time to go to the kitchen and get a snack.  I did like when the girl went into a glass case of emotion while singing the first song though.  But after SNL, somehow Arcade Fire was able to score a 30 minute concert that aired on NBC.  What followed was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen on TV this year (not counting Breaking Bad).  If you have 30 minutes I encourage you to watch it.

With lots of weird costumes, celebrity cameos, fake movie trailers and Bill Hader skyping in from space you are sure to be entertained even you don’t like the music of Arcade Fire.  I kind of hope this becomes a regular thing for the SNL musical guests. I’d really be interested in seeing Miley Cyrus do this next week.

-Jacob