Fake stories are gaining popularity because a nice chunk of bloggers tend to skip the tiny details and believe everything they read. Throw social networks like Digg into the mix, and you have trouble on the horizon. I am not one of those people, and I do scrutinize (maybe even too much) nearly every story I read on a daily basis. This is why I am asking that the blogging community take a step back and realize that this is only the beginning of a big problem. People are going to try to hurt the image of the blogosphere.
I, unfortunately, have lost some faith in the blogosphere over the past few months with regards to credibility. Bloggers are beginning to prove why journalists still have jobs. Scammers are beginning to realize that the blogosphere is the perfect opportunity to run their fake stories and lies to gain popularity and fame. It is likely that the same people that have provided us the need for spam inboxes will now give us the need for more scrutiny within the blogosphere.
We might be entering a time where we have to question everything we read from some of the A-list bloggers amongst us. It is so easy for someone to write something that is a complete lie—in a matter of days, the whole internet will think it is the truth. Blame should be passed on to the blogger(s) that publish these stories (as well as the person that lied) without knowing the truth.
I fully realize that everything I have said here applies to news organizations as well. However, news organizations are, in the public eye, thought of as responsible and trustworthy resources which will try their best to find the truth. Bloggers seem to get away with horrible mistakes and worse, but as the amount of news generated increased, it might get frustrating for readers and bloggers alike.
Now, many of you might have read my recent post about some problems with the blogosphere—namely the fact that this GPS drawing story had been in my feed an absurd amount of times. The story was taken way out of proportion, and I criticized its popularity. Well, now we all should feel cheated and embarrassed that it was a fake all along. I am not the least bit shocked either.
Those blogs that represent themselves as credible resources should learn from this. I trust the bloggers I subscribe too now, but nothing is certain. Services, like NewsCred, are already starting to gain popularity, and bloggers will need to start owning up to knowing the truth before publishing stories.