Hoax Sites, Good or Bad?

While searching the for football information one afternoon a few years back I came across a very interesting website, which is quite funny but makes itself seem like a Wikipedia page with player “info”. This site, Sports Argument Wiki is quite possibly the funniest website I have ever been on, but even though the information on it is obviously false, if an uneducated sports fan saw it, they could be fooled by the site.

SAS wiki as it is called is a complete joke and it has a disclaimer on the front page saying that it shouldn’t be taken seriously which is great because readers then know going into it what they are looking at, the problem with satirical sites like this is that they don’t always have a disclaimer. The difference between the two New York Times sites is obviously the content, but they look identical in almost every sense. It would be hard for a person to tell the difference between the sites unless they look at the date or web address.

I found more information about the false New York Times page and along with the website they also handed out over a million fake printed copies of the New York Times in New York City. This has to scare people both involved in the newspaper industry and avid readers because these copies look almost perfect and people could obviously be fooled by them. The New York Times is one of the largest newspapers in the United States, if they can be copied so easily, what does that mean for every other newspaper in the US?

Hoax sites are meant to be used as a joke and a majority of people will see that immediately and laugh it off and move on, but when they are done as well as the fake New York Times site then it can become dangerous. If a site continually updated false stories in a professional manner, it could take a while for people to realize what is going on, and could inevitably ruin the reputation of a large respected paper like the New York Times.

This is a problem with the web obviously, but most people take jokes like this with a grain of salt, and as long as we do that then we will be ok. It’s ok for people to question what they read and I think jokes like this help people to remember that. Besides the paper being copied, people shouldn’t get mad at something like this, instead they should have fun and pass it on to a friend to enjoy the joke.

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