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#FakeNews shows up with a Ferndale twist

"Fake" news for Ferndale.

The term “fake news” has sadly crept into our vocabulary over the past few years. It evolved as 1) a means to create an audience for advertisers and 2) a means to change what a group of people may think is real.

The carriers of fake news are usually people wanting to point out entertaining and important news on social media and via email. But too often, and with the best of intentions, they end up duping friends and family with seemingly legit news stories and pictures from unverifiable websites.

Recently, two instances were seen being shared by neighbors with their friends and family.

First, there was a picture of a Ford Fusion doing a handstand on the side of a snowy road which was proclaimed to have “just happened on I-5 by Ferndale” during one of our recent snow storms.

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eagle tribune staff photo
News photo from 2011 New Hampshire crash pushed as “fake” news in the Ferndale area during snowstorms in 2017.

But in reality, it was a still taken from an actual news video shot during a 2011 snowstorm on I-93 in New Hampshire, 6 years prior and 3,000 miles away.

Second, a story was being circulated about an assault that reportedly happened at a Ferndale grocery store. Here is a snippet from an email:

… the lady came from behind her cart and shoved Elba so hard she almost fell down.  She was in shock and told the lady, “Don’t push me.”

To which the nice lady said, “Why don’t you f’ing Mexicans go back to Mexico where you belong.  That really scared her and she said nothing. She tried get her cart and get away from the woman.

Then the woman came up to her and slugged her in the face.  She now has a horrible black eye. Fortunately, there were witnesses and someone called the police who arrived immediately.

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When asked, Ferndale Police said nothing matching the incident description had been reported to them even though later in the story it said,

She said the police were very nice to her once they heard from the witness what happened. They made a police report and apparently restrained the woman, but did not arrest her.

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Such tales can have a hidden agenda (see #2 above) in addition to trying pose a story where one doesn’t actually exist (see #1 above).

Hopefully, having reason to second-guess what is being sent via email or shared on social media will slow the flow of such misinformation.

 

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