Posted on
August 22nd, 2014

BREAKING: Onion Not Real

Most of us have come across satirical humour on-line in one way or another; some of us have even been fooled by an article that looks legitimate until we look closer at the sources.

Recently, ‘The Onion’, a site dedicated to satirical humour, has been causing waves around the internet by having their articles shared on Facebook – causing confusion with users who are under the impression that they are reading an article written by a reputable news source.

Some users have become outraged by various articles posted from the satirical site, specifically in the recent case of an article titled “Tips for being an unarmed black teen”, published on the same day it was announced that an unarmed African-American teenager had been shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri.

The tongue-in-cheek nature of online satire relies on an ironic design to mimic the look of big-name newspaper websites, adding to the confusion of people reading and sharing the articles around the internet.

In response to this, Facebook have announced that it is testing a new feature which warns users that they are posting, reading or sharing satirical content on their site by placing a tag labelled “[Satire]” into the title of an article.

Speaking to the BBC, a Facebook spokesman said that the feedback from its users has shown them that there is a need for the feature to be added.

A statement made by a Facebook spokesperson said the following:

“We are running a small test which shows the text ‘[Satire]’ in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed,

“This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units.”

Although it isn’t clear yet how many satirical sites will be given the satire tag on Facebook, it raises the question as to how many other sites will join the social-giant in clearly labelling satirical content in the future.

A blunder was made in 2013 by American newspaper, the Washington Post, after they accidently reported on their website that former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was joining the Al-Jazeera news network – a story which was written and published on the Daily Currant, a site with satirical-intent.

Similarly, in 2012, a Chinese newspaper reported that North Korea’s leader, Kim-Jong-Un was voted the “sexiest man alive”, an article that was posted on The Onion.

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