(URBAN LEGENDS AND CHAIN EMAILS)
Who is able to produce:
Professional – Amateur – Anyone.
Everyone can perpetrate a hoax by making only factual statements using unfamiliar wording or context, such as in the dihydrogen monoxide hoax (dihydrogen monoxide is water. Example: “The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol “- http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html).
Level of deception:
Low – Average – High – Very high.
Hoaxes have staying power because of the peculiar way people process information and arrive at beliefs. When confronted with new information, humans don’t always do the logical thing and evaluate it on its own merits. Instead, we often make snap decisions based on how the information adheres with our existing worldviews. Although small google research through fact-checkers internet pages might show quite fast if a piece of information is a hoax.
A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth.
A common aspect that hoaxes have is that they are all meant to deceive or lie. For something to become a hoax, the lie must have something more to offer. It must be outrageous, dramatic, but also has to be believable and ingenious. Above all, it must be able to attract attention from the public.
Fake news (also referred to as hoax news) deliberately publish hoaxes which may serve the goal of propaganda or disinformation — using social media to drive web traffic and amplify their effect.
The urban legend is a modern genre of folklore. It often consists of fictional stories associated with the macabre, superstitions, cryptids, creepypasta, and other fear generating narrative elements. Urban legends are often rooted in local history and popular culture.
A chain letter is a message that attempts to convince the recipient to make some copies and pass them on to a certain number of recipients (same applied to emails).
Working principle (what and how does it do):
As mentioned hoax is false or half-truth information which is presented as accurate and factual with the intention to deceive other persons. Usually, it is “sensational”, so it helps for it to spread because people tend to not check information reliability before sharing and liking.
List of fact-checking websites: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fact-checking_websites.
Worth-while EU funded initiative oriented at disinformation (including hoaxes): https://euvsdisinfo.eu/.
If deepfake is not professional one can spot that shadows do not fall as they should be falling, or the person is not blinking. But if deepfake is of higher quality, there is no way to recognise it using your eyes. Many firms are trying to develop software which could help to identify deepfakes: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/14/sentinel-loads-up-with-1-35m-in-the-deepfake-detection-arms-race/.
The US military is also funding an effort to catch deepfakes: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611146/the-us-military-is-funding-an-effort-to-catch-deepfakes-and-other-ai-trickery/.