Friday, February 28, 2020

Twitter fooled by Fake Candidate

A few election cycles ago, there was the story of Susie Flynn running for President. It was a hoax published by a media company to attract attention. It made for a pretty good fact checking evaluation challenge. Here's an archived reminder of the story.

In today's news is a story about a 17-year old who fabricated a Senate candidate named Andrew Walz and managed to get Twitter to verify the fake as legitimate.  Here's some of the story from CNN:
"Earlier this month, Walz's account received a coveted blue check mark from Twitter as part of the company's broader push to verify the authenticity of many Senate, House and gubernatorial candidates currently running for office. Twitter has framed this effort as key to helping Americans find reliable information about politicians in the lead up to the 2020 election."
Not until the 17-year old's parents came forward with the story did anyone notice the problem.

One takeaway is that if a bored teen can exploit Twitter's election integrity efforts, what else is that publisher missing?

We are foolish if we allow others to think for us, assuring us what to believe, what to trust. There is really no substitute for honing our skills and taking time to do our own vetting.

The story of Andrew Walz is another wake up call to practice fact checking.  What details in Andrew Walz's campaign can't be verified? Post your answers below.

More on fact checking here.

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