Just Because It’s On Instagram …

Storyful’s Eliza Mackintosh has the story behind an Instagram account that shows an immigrant escaping from Dakar, Senegal, to Spain. It’s a story that was picked up by some major web sites and built a massive following … but it’s all a lie, a fictional project designed for an exhibition.

“It was a way of denouncing Western frivolity, in which we have to take selfies at all times and it seems that an event has not been experienced if you have not shared it,” (Joana) Sendra wrote.

There’s a deep lesson in this, one everyone keeps forgetting:

The main takeaway for journalists is clear — it’s critical to treat all social content with a heavy dose of skepticism. When we are all searching and scanning for that one person who presents a narrative perfectly, particularly around current topics like migration into Europe, there is a readiness to believe that a story is true.

Mark E. Johnson

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