Our founding fathers said "All men are created equal." However, this was during a time when Facebook didn't exist. If they had a close look at what people of today actually post, they may have swam back over the Atlantic, wigs and all. Created in 1988, The Onion has been the cornerstone of satire in both print and digital, but last week Facebook just had to step in.
The social network has began testing a "Satire" tag on articles shared from The Onion. Ars Technica reached out to a Facebook representative, who was quoted saying it's "because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units." To be fair, Facebook is adding [Satire] to shared links from other sites, but hasn't disclosed which sites.
All in all, this is a move being declared as great for users. If you enjoy killing fun, then yes, it's absolutely wonderful. One of the great joys of The Onion isn't the articles themselves, but reading the comments of people who fail to realize it's a joke. Pasting [Satire] next to the end of every headline on Facebook chips away at the joke, only leaving the people who never read the damn headline to fall for it.
And as Ryan Sullivan put it, The Onion helps us keep our friends list tidy.
Facebook needs to understand that The Onion is used as a dumb friend measuring stick. If we can't troll our friends then what's the point?— Ryan D. Sullivan (@ryandonsullivan) August 18, 2014
You see, it's not The Onion's fault for writing such brilliant, world class satire. It's the 800 other sites that are absolutely horrible at it, and by horrible I mean written with ZERO satire at all. In fact, some of these sites are barely within the line of what's legal. Take this fine example...
If you can find any satire in that article, I'd love to hear it. Actually, if you can find any satire on that entire site, I'd love to see it. Sadly, this is just one example of many, and I believe these sites are the real cause of the confusion. Sure, people will still fall for Onion articles, but at least it's not reporting as complete and utter fact.
It also doesn't help that the actual news is reading as fake news more and more. If you want to see a great example of this, I very much recommend bookmarking Reddit.com/r/NotTheOnion. It's seriously dumbfounding.
If anything, Facebook needs to add a [Real] tag so we know shit is totally serious.
I say we let Darwinism take its course on Facebook and social media in general. At least those of us who actually research things before proclaiming as the gospel can have something to laugh it.
Photo credit: Hildgrim