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Public Opinion Manipulation Technique: False Context

False context

From deepfakes to using old videos out of context or genuine videos with false captions to digital manipulation or taking facts out of context and backing them up with strong visuals. We see these types of manipulations going viral on social networks every day. The latest is the miscaptioned viral videos about the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán López.

While thousands of soldiers were involved in an operation to arrest Ovidio Guzmán López, an alleged drug trafficker and son of cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, a series of videos went viral, presented as if they showed genuine footage of the raid. Let’s look at the facts.

  • So many viral videos circulating on social media now do not actually show this police raid.

Social media users chasing engagement and online clout often capitalize on the flood of information that follows a breaking news event by taking old footage and circulating it again with a false caption. Common fodder for this tactic includes video game footageold natural disaster reports or other unrelated media. But another popular strategy is to take behind-the-scenes footage from movies or television programs —especially those that feature major action sequences — and repackage them as if they feature real-world events.

You can avoid being fooled by double-checking the source (who posted it?), cross-checking the video with reputable sources (have standards-based news organizations shared this footage?), or by performing a reverse image search to see if that footage predates the current news cycle, as well as asking if the context is accurate or if these videos were removed from their original context, miscaptioned and shared as if they showed Guzmán López’s arrest.

This post is based on Rumourguard‘s article: Miscaptioned footage goes viral after Ovidio Guzmán López arrest


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