The growth of ‘fake’ Facebook videos like this is very dangerous — and most people don’t seem to realize it
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
At first glance, the Facebook video is horrifying — what appears to be a female solider carrying a baby is accosted by a rude woman who raises an increasingly loud fuss over having to spend a 90 minute flight near a baby.
The video, posted on the Facebook page titled “The Gooch” certainly grabs your attention.
But a thoughtful viewer might start to notice some odd things: There are only two other passengers visible around the row being fought over. The recording starts right when the run in is about to happen. The “baby” doesn’t move at all the entire time.
Turns out that’s because the video is apparently a work of fiction — but it’s not necessarily clearly labeled that way.
It’s all part of a growing type of popular videos on social media platforms that aren’t what they seem.
Most of the videos carrying a “for entertainment purposes only” disclaimer, though it’s often posted at the page level and hence isn’t included directly in the description of the content.
“For entertainment purposes” only is also a bit unclear and doesn’t come right out and say that this video is basically a miniature movie or TV show that’s being carried out by what are essentially actors. In other words, they are, at best, satire or parody, but more often than not they are entirely fictional and not real.
“Please be advised that this page’s videos and live videos are intended for entertainment purposes only. The videos on this page include scripted dramas, satires, parodies, magic tricks, and other forms of entertainment. Names, characters and incidents are often the product of the director’s imagination, so any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental,” reads the caption on this particular video.
That’s a whole lot of words that don’t really come out and say the entire thing isn’t reflecting actual events. The disclaimer is also either completely or mostly hidden by default on most formats of the video page on web browsers, the mobile web and Facebook app, meaning a user has to a click a “more” link to actually see it.
Interestingly, other videos on the same page feature “for entertainment purposes” only in the titles — but not this one wasn’t changed to include that until after its initial posting. Even when it is included, it’s at the end of the title show it doesn’t show up in all views by default.
Whatever the case, it’s fairly clear based on the comments that the majority of the viewers never saw the disclaimer or just reacted emotionally to something, that if it were real, would be incredibly disrespectful and almost certainly result in the fictional ending being carried out — the women being removed from the plane.
Some viewers did question the validity of the video for many of the same reasons noted above — with some even noting that a solider would most likely remove her hat on a plane and that her “uniform” is missing any rank insignia.
In short, this type of video is an another example of the types of dangerous content that is masquerading on social media as “real.” It’s also interesting because it seems to be designed to target multiple hot button issues of today: Masking, so called self entitled “Karens” acting disrespectfully, “air rage,” the issue of children potentially causing issues in public places and respect for the military and working or traveling moms.
It’s also a perfect word of warning about not taking content for granted or face value as being what it seems. While it’s unlikely most social media users will take the time to investigate the disclaimers in the title and description, this type of video underscores the importance of doing so — especially before sharing or commenting on the video solely based on emotional response.
This video also emphasizes the responsibility that journalists have to fully vet hot button video content like this — and make sure it’s actually real.