In the days before 11/9, fake news outperformed verifiable news on Facebook. Data analytics show millions of people clicked and shared links to unverified news “articles” in the weeks leading up to the recent presidential election.
Why would anyone create fake news? Some genuinely want to influence people into adopting political positions. For others, the production of outrage can be handily monetized as Facebook rewards clicks and shares, elevating them in its algorithm and funneling them into advertising dollars. All one needs is a willingness to push unverified content into the world without regard for the consequences. Paul Horner, a fake news "impresario," created many sensational fake news pages for clicks. He says he figured Trump supporters would fact-check his articles. They didn’t.
There is a safety that we take for granted in intellectual and cultural institutions – including at The Alice. There is a safety offered by legacy media, even as public awareness grows of structural bias and inequity within the institution. Through American history, there has come to be an expectation of respectability, credibility, neutrality, rigor and moderation in media. We trust that it will be responsible and thorough. Should we?
It has become very difficult to detect threats to our well-being. CLICKBAIT challenges our ideas of intellectual safety, as well as highlighting the role that design plays in distorting our sense of comfort.
Corinne Chin served as a creative consultant on this project.
Kevin Golden is a user experience designer, graphic designer and art director. He has previously worked for The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times where he received an Award of Excellence from the 36th Society for News Design competition and The Boston Globe where he was a member of the infographics team that contributed to the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Reporting. He currently works as a volunteer designer for Kijani, as an art director for the New York City-based Beautiful Savage Magazine and as a coordinator for the Seattle Design Festival
Corinne Chin is a journalist and art educator. She earned a master of science in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School before having a Twitter account was an academic requirement.
The name Project Diana comes from a 1946 NASA mission that projected radio waves into space. These waves broke through the ionosphere, echoed off the moon and then returned to Earth.