Fake news helped propel Donald Trump’s candidacy and it’s surprising how few outside media seem aware or even particularly concerned with the immediacy, reach and lasting damage done by Internet propagation of fiction.
If a Trump presidency doesn’t raise alarm — and polls today show a majority sanguine, even upbeat, about the outlook under Trump — perhaps it might be useful to read about a specific example of what Internet bullies can do with fake stories.
Read this chilling story from the New York Times about a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, Comet Ping Pong, depicted as a center of child trafficking by Hillary Clinton and John Podesta. I’m not kidding. Who could believe such nonsense, you might think. But the assault on the restaurant has become huge and unending. The owner has been ineffective in tamping down the libelous smear’s repetition through various social media sites. Through Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the rest, the attack continues.
Scary moral: Malevolent forces could do this to anyone. And you’d be just about as helpless in stamping out whatever message was contrived as it circled and recircled the globe. (The best guess is that the pizza place got targeted for a fictional slam because the owner once had a relationship with a key anti-Trump media figure, David Brock.)