FAKE NEWS. We’ve heard that phrase so much across the internet over the past year that it’s almost become meaningless.
But how do you actually determine the difference between information that’s accurate and totally false?
Well, good news: there’s now a game for it.
Bad News is an online game created by a team of academics and journalists called DROG. The idea behind it is to help educate people about the differences between information that’s real and information that’s fake, as well as the methods used by people behind false stories.
The twist? When you play the game, you play it as the bad guy. Your job is to build as many followers as you can for your new fake news empire, using the exact same techniques as those used by the people who spread false stories IRL.
The game lets you choose which fake stories to post on your news site.
The more followers you gain, the more badges you earn.
Ruurd Oosterwoud, founder of DROG, told Mashable that the game was born out an idea for the best way to deal with false stories.
“When you want to beat disinformation, blocking is never an option,” he said. “Instead, you should ridicule it.”
DROG initially had the idea to create a fake news generator that could prove how misinformation can influence public opinion. From there, Bad News was born.
The game went live in the Netherlands, where DROG is based, several months ago. Oosterwoud explained that it’s a popular in-class education tool, and that they’ve even used an adapted version of it to help train officers in the Dutch military.
“We hope people see it as an eyeopener and become aware of the tactics that can be applied to alter society’s opinions online,” he said.