When considering the fantastic capacity the internet has to distribute accurate news quickly, such as for emergency services in times of crisis, it is very easy to overlook the potential for disinformation appearing online!
As the internet rapidly opens up the vast array of genuine and fake content, there opportunity to pull in suckers with satirical commentary is too good to resist for some.
The Betoota Advocate is ‘Australia’s oldest newspaper’. Supposedly based in the Queensland Channel Country, in a town with a population of zero, the Advocate has been behind some brilliant satire over recent years which has drawn in many a legitimate reader.
Articles such as ‘Melbourne’s Public Transport System Rated As One Of The Best In Victoria’ followed a spate of articles about how public transport systems across the country rated against each other. The online news style title and tagging of supposedly genuine sources is an easy pick up of any innocent readers who are unaware of the nature of the Advocate.
Another classic example occurred over an article describing a parking officer giving himself a ticket, and then taking the matter to court. The story was picked up by the Today Show and numerous other outlets, before Media Watch noted the error.
The Advocate struck gold with an article posted after the divorce of Hollywood glamour couple Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie. The article stated Jolie had taken to former Australian cricketer Shane Warne, with a couple name of ‘Shanegelina’.