Newsjacking Defined: Same Old Story, New Name

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, You Decide

“Newsjacking” With a Dark Twist: When Hoaxes Infiltrate the News Cycle
by Mandy Nagy
July 10, 2013

There is a term known as “newsjacking,” and it refers to the takeover of a news story or narrative and using it for other purposes. See the example in that link about when Oreo took over the power outage during the Super Bowl 2013, and you”™ll understand exactly why such a term was ever coined. It”™s typically seen as a positive term – the creative pairing of media savvy and perfect timing, resulting in a viral news success.

But there is a more sinister likeness to newsjacking that is increasingly employed today, especially given the advent of social media. And this is a version that comes with a dark twist.


We see it in more primitive fashion when big stories break on social media: The trolls who post fake photos or fake reports of sharks swimming in the streets during a hurricane, or the Sandy Hook child who was (not) killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, or false reports of the NYSE being under three feet of water during Hurricane Sandy – the posts that trick mainstream media and leave them backtracking on their stories in the midst of the flurry.

And then there are those who craft their own narratives in a much more savvy way – some out of whole cloth, some mixed in with a little truth – and inject them into the news to achieve a particular gain, often a politically motivated one.

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