With the Click of a Button

Who knew that there were games to practice spreading fake news and misinformation. I was baffled! Yet intrigued at the same time. The two games I decided to play were Breaking Harmony Square and Bad News. More than anything the names caught my attention.

First up is Breaking Harmony Square. My first thoughts were, “What even is harmony square?!” Then I proceeded to press play. It started out with me picking an identity to basically catfish as… or in other words, cause chaos and spread misinformation. I went with Carmen SanFrancisco… edgy right?! there were four chapters to this game and it became more messy the further along you went.

The basis of the game is to get as many likes and followers that you can. You start off by paying an extreme opinion as that will create traction to your page. Throughout the game you never pick what’s ethically correct but what will give you views because “views are life!!”

The levels of the game teach you five things: how to troll, exploiting emotional language, using bots or AI to gain popularity, spreading conspiracy theories, and then how to divide an audience by pointing out differences within the group. Breaking Harmony Square: A game that “inoculates” against political misinformation breaks down how the game tedious and offer psychological resistance towards misinformation and manipulation techniques used in political information.

The next game, Bad news had a very similar concept. It objective is to expose you to all of the different tactics that are used to spread miss information and to manipulate your audience.

I found it very interesting that the point of the games were for you to play on others emotions but at the same time they start by playing on your emotions and getting you in touch with how to be emotionally attached or involved with something enough to become frustrated.

Bad news, take you through different steps of how to spread miss information and gain a following but instead of getting likes you have to gain credibility. It was very interesting to witness the links people go to to spread miss information.on the game I had to create a fake identity and portray myself as someone I was not… The president of the president United States. Then moved on to picking a topic that rang home for many… coronavirus! This being a very emotional and political topic, I saw how easy it was to spread false information and to get a reaction out of others

What stood out to me more with Bad news Was how they showcase how one person can create a fake identity, a fake, credible source, and even edit pictures to become believable. Like stated in the article Protecting Ourselves from Fake News: Games that Teach about Fake News , the game objective is to teach us how people distort and deflect from news that is accurate and or help them spread misinformation. And with both games, the one thing that I sent all of the news flying were the hired bots. Not only did they like, and comment they shared their thoughts. Not only did they like, and comment they shared their thoughts and that added to the fire

I do feel like educational games, can help us in the future when it comes to spotting and stop being misinformation. Prior to playing the games I did not know all of the tactics that one used to spread lies, and to keep their view as the prominent one. I am more aware of all of the tactics that they use and how to properly spot and question the information we are taking in. More than anything, the games taught me that which is a click of a button so many lives can be impacted and so many rumors can be spread. And if we take out emotion and malicious intent, we will be able to better spread more accurate news. Now in real life, I do not know if it will be this easy to spread inaccurate information but I know what time and effort and the skills it can be very possible and that is why we are constantly misinformed on multiple platforms and in our everyday media conception.

The last thing anyone wants to be is… BAD NEWS!

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