The following picture was widely circulated on social media and, in particular, chain emails. Is it real or photoshopped? Find the evidence by using the four moves.

Islamic_sign

After confirming or disconfirming the sign’s existence, consider the following questions:

  • People think about social media disinformation as being about Facebook or Twitter, but this image was circulated in chain emails. What does that tell us about information? What are some of the specific challenges of email-based or IM-based disinformation?
  • Why do you think so many viral memes of this sort play on fear, and not hope or reason? How do bigotry and virality intersect?
  • The sign here is reminiscent of signs created with the Church Sign Maker, a tool that was initially developed to create humorous fake signs but which was repurposed to¬† create political disinformation. If you have studied the evolution of “fake news” discuss how some fake news sites followed a similar trajectory.