Faking Facts: The Case of FactCheckArmenia.com
fake fact checking
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AbstractPost-truth is a contention that feelings are more important than facts in political discourse, which some scholars, such as McIntyre (2018), have contended has led to the rise of misinformation online. (McIntyre, 2018). In 2017, Poynter noted the rise of fake fact-checkers as one of the latest trends in misinformation online (Sözeri, 2017). One of these sites was factcheckarmenia.com (FCA), a genocide denial website claiming to be a fact-checker. In its efforts to present misinformation as fact, FCA exposes and exploits the problems with mainstream journalistic fact-checking by co-opting conventions of the genre. FCA showcases how standards in mainstream fact-checking can be manipulated to perpetuate misinformation and that the veneer of credibility need only be present to mislead readers. This negates the argument from those concerned with that good information will eventually prevail. If anything, FCA points to an ever-closing circle of misinformation systems. This thesis argues that FCA’s efforts to present misinformation as unwelcome truth exploit the tension between communicative action and strategic speech within speech communities. FCA uses the guise of communicative action, a form of respectful and open communication aimed at finding truth, to attract participants and to bolster their credibility. However, it becomes quickly apparent that FCA is really a place to promote strategic speech, namely the narrative that the Armenian Genocide did not it happen as it is presented in the mainstream narrative. FCA then becomes a safe haven for participants who want to avoid, rather than grapple with, the uncomfortable truth of the Armenian Genocide.
CitationSamwel, S. (2020). Faking Facts: The Case of FactCheckArmenia.com (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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