It is crazy to think how information can easily spread so fast online without anyone performing any fact-checking. It's how many "industry insiders" can pose as experts without any track record. If they nail a couple of rumors, it gets reported and that begins a flywheel of self-fulfilling credibility. Take Jon Cartwright, a video game YouTuber, who decided to see how easy it is to become an insider. Spoiler: it's super easy.
Last week Nintendo aired one of their "Directs", which are pre-recorded presentations that announce upcoming video games and projects. Plenty of people will try to guess what's coming. Others who claim to be "in the know" will try to post leaks. Cartwright decided to take the upcoming Direct and attempt a social experiment.
The full explainer video is below, but the gist is that he made a LOT of predictions on a new Twitter account. It was locked at the time, so nobody could see anything. Once the Direct was over, he simply deleted the tons of wrong tweets and left an account that looked very accurate. Once unlocked, he worked to promote it and after a few hours, it was being used as a source for news outlets.
The entire endeavor is a good reminder that when we view an article online, the source is likely linking from another source which is linking to another source. When you trace things back far enough it is quite possible the entire thing stands on flimsy information. For Cartright, this was both educational and entertaining to see how he did it.
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