Ms. Geek Speaks: #FakeNews on Facebook

Stock photo of pretty young Muslim woman by Hongqi Zhang

I haven’t had any contact with Hongqi Zhang of Alamy Stock Photo, but I am sure when he was shooting this photo he wasn’t thinking about fueling hate on Facebook.

This photo is on Alamy.com and listed under the tags of pretty young Muslim woman (head shot over black background).

In a PlanetBros.com article, this woman is featured as a “Muslim Figure” who supposedly said, “We Must Have Pork-Free Menus Or We Will Leave U.S.” And the article asks: “How Would You Respond This?” As of 11:41 a.m. PST, this article has been shared 17.4K times. The source of this article is RepublicanConnect.com.  Published on 2 July 2017, the original article does NOT feature a photograph. RepublicanConnect “is a fast-growing political blog focused on expanding the reach of Patriotism and Republican ideas through the use of engaging media.” But not necessarily by telling the truth.

The article is meant to reach people with no analytical ability. It begins with “Muslim migrants have turned into a worldwide issue, and the circumstance deteriorates each day. Our nation has had a considerable measure of Muslim-related issues of late, yet this time settlers went too far.” Notice that the actual issues are not named. Whatever your issue with Muslims–real or imaginary, this article includes you. The article also portrays the Muslims as “migrants,” settlers” or “outsiders” as opposed to refugees, students, researchers, co-workers, neighbors, immigrants or native-born citizens.

Then without being specific, the article notes, “President Donald Trump had the ideal answer for the issue forced by outsiders, however, Democrats didn’t bolster him,” without noting what the exact action was and who exactly opposed these actions.  Some of the sentences are hard to comprehend because when the article finally mentions the barring of “foreigners from a few Muslim dominant part nations,” the article concedes “tragically, the travel boycott was blocked comfortable start, and Muslim outsiders attacked the nation.” Just what does that mean? Who are those Muslim outsiders and what attack are we talking about and how does that related to the boycott?

The actual article is about a Muslim figure who is not named. While the long prologue seems to be about the U.S., mentioning “President Donald Trump” and “Barack Obama” (notice no “President” or even “then-President”), but when the actual incident is mentioned it involves a Mayor Michel Rotger.

You might have asked, mayor to what city? Glad you asked (if you didn’t–shame on you). Rotger is the mayor of a small French (as in France on the European continent) village called Chevigny-Saint Sauveur with a population of about 9,969. Rotger was recently in the news for suing a woman fro defamation of character.

Snopes first noted an article like this on 1 July 2017. I noticed this article because someone I knew through dog connections posted it. My objection to this and my assertion that people would begin to question her ability to discern what is a reliable source resulted in her blocking me. This kind of article is meant to encourage hate and it’s unfortunate that people are not only falling for them, but spreading them on to people who may not venture further than the headline. Hate is easy. Critical thinking isn’t that hard. We have to try harder.

 

 

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