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FFS Blog: The Jay Z/Barry Chuckle collaboration that never was and some alternative election facts

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(alastairbrian) #1

Nothing gets the Internet’s pulse racing like an unusual celebrity meeting.

So on Saturday night, a picture of hip-hop superstar Jay Z sitting beside none other than childrens’ television legend Barry Chuckle went viral after they were supposedly snapped together at the Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko fight.

Unfortunately for everyone, the picture turned out to be a Photoshop effort of Jay Z and boxer Andre Ward that has appeared online as far back as 2015, and has been claimed to be taken at nearly every major boxing event since.

At least this time most newspapers seemed to realise it wasn’t real, with a number of articles debunking the picture.

But it didn’t stop the image of the fake Jay Z-Barry Chuckle meeting from taking Twitter by storm, with one (seemingly serious) tweet from former footballer and pundit Stan Collymore being retweeted more than 14,000 times.

Boxer Andre Ward becomes Barry Chuckle

While the week’s biggest viral hoax was sport-based, the start of the election campaign has been a fertile place for using Photoshop and graphics to mislead.

The internet has been rife with journalists and members of the public pointing out a classic strategy on election leaflets – the disproportionate graph.

The Scottish Conservatives were particularly guilty in a leaflet which promised Ruth Davidson would send a ‘stong message’ to the SNP, followed by some creative representations of polling numbers.

Typically, these graphs are used to inflate the difference between opposition parties’ vote share to prove their main opponent “can’t win” in a constituency.

If you want more examples of statistical manipulation, Buzzfeed News have done a round-up of a few of the worst abuses of the bar graph.

As the snap election nears, there have been fresh calls for Facebook to step up in the fight against “fake news”.

Tory MP Damian Collins said false reports could be a threat to the “integrity of democracy” as so many people now rely on the social media giant as a source for news.

Facebook has worked with fact checking organisations in other parts of the world to help flag up untrustworthy sources. Earlier this year, it began testing a tool which alerts users when they are sharing stories that have been disputed by fact checking groups.

However it has yet to roll out to the UK, so it remains to be seen whether meaningful efforts to tackle so-called fake news will be made before Britain goes to the polls on June 8.