Finally, the constant joking that we needed an irony or satire tag in HTML has become a reality, as Facebook introduces the satire tag which will weed out the Onion posts from actual news so people can stop being confused by the web. My, when did we all become so gullable? Perhaps when they removed the word from the dictionary, to paraphrase an old joke.
Satire publications being mistaken for real news on the web is so common that it's spawned tumblr's like literally unbelievable who screencaps the most amusing confusion. But what does this mean? We can't tell what is a real news story, a real opinion piece, from a satirical ditto anymore? Maybe we can't - even an established satirical persona such as Colbert's version of a right-wing newspundit is read as serious, remember #Cancelcolbert?
Does facebook think its users are dumb? No, it knows you are as their explained to Arstechnica that "we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others". Thus the square brackets will now tell us when something is not real. So what came first the area man & facebook user who is incredibly stupid or the really shoddy journalism, with failed fact checks & gif-laden listicles. It certainly didn't help that many flagship publications allow for pretty much anyone to start a blog on their site, under their name, but without any editorial control, further muddling the waters. That's how we end up with Washington Post reporting that Sarah Palin took a job at Al Jazeera America news network. Also, remember when Fox news reported on the Asiana pilots names "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk," and "Bang Ding Ow" most likely lifted directly from twitter, of course.
Does this mean we can no longer handle satire? Will facebook introduce other tags such a (bipartisan), (listicle), (low-quality prose masquerading as journalism) and (advertising) too? Isn't enough that we can read the URL's upworthy, buzzfeed, vice etc in the post itself? Did we all turn off the part of the brain that makes you process what you read sometime around 2009? So many questions, attention-span like a goldfish. I should tweet that.