NYT tech expert ridiculed after 'fact-checking' obviously fake Trump pic
Kevin Roose, NYT's business columnist, who has taken on writing about social media and US politics, triggered an avalanche of memes and mostly sarcastic comments on Twitter when he reposted a picture showing US President Donald Trump handing a MAGA cap to a hurricane victim standing waist-deep in muddy waters.
The original photo was taken during the Texas flooding in 2015 and its doctored version resurfaced during Hurricane Harvey.
Roose tweeted that the altered image has been shared 275,000 times on Facebook, suggesting the social media giant could apply the same tools it uses to combat 'revenge porn' "to prevent obviously fake photos from going viral."
A photoshopped picture depicting Trump rescuing people during Hurricane Florence has been shared 275,000 times on Facebook. The original is from Texas flooding in 2015. pic.twitter.com/woWuPuqSSy— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) September 24, 2018
Facebook already uses image hashing/fingerprinting to prevent repeat uploads of e.g. revenge porn. Seems like it would be easy to prevent obviously fake photos from going viral.— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) September 24, 2018
It's unclear what set Roose off about the year-old image widely seen as a joke, of which there are plenty on social media.
Rising to the occasion, Trump supporters, including Jack Posobiec and Cassandra Fairbanks, had a good laugh by posting memes that NYT specialists might want to fact-check next.
Wait, Trump isnt 20 ft tall with gold plated armour and a fire sword!!!! pic.twitter.com/afsvUx0aJR— Connor Johnston (@ConnorWJohnston) September 24, 2018
I saw this pic of Trump at the scene of a scary fire and can’t confirm if it’s real or not... pls advise pic.twitter.com/ysIt7ERJSC— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) September 24, 2018
Many were telling Roose that he had overreacted to what had obviously been intended as humor and satire.
Lol I think everyone gets that it’s a joke!— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) September 24, 2018
Woah. I thought this was only be shared as a joke, not to be interpreted as legit news! 😂😂😂 Man, 2018. You never know what sort of dumbfuckery you'll encounter.— Dan Kan (@dkan1030) September 24, 2018
Some raised the more serious issue of possible censorship that could result if Facebook starts policing memes.
Bro, there's no need to censor memes just because you're so dense you don't get the joke and think they're being passed off as real.— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) September 24, 2018
When confronted by a user if he believes that thousands of people who reposted the meme were genuinely believing it was real, Roose refused to back down, asking the user to define "believe" and "real."
define "believe" and "real"— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) September 24, 2018
After facing a massive backlash for his initial tweet, Roose complained that he was overwhelmed with "ur a dumb*ss" comments for doing a "viral normie tweet."
It's cool that the prize for doing a viral normie tweet is 8,000 QAnon dads replying "ur a dumbass" all day— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) September 24, 2018
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