“Fake It To Make It” Is A Scarily Accurate Fake News Simulation Game

A screenshot from Fake It To Make It

“Fake It To Make It” is a browser simulation game that puts you in charge of running a “fake news” website. It’s a simple premise for an interactive game that soon becomes both immersive and scarily accurate to real-world fake news.

When beginning the game, you’re greeted with the following text:

You will be making money by creating news sites and profiting when people view and click on ads on your site. It’s pretty easy as long as you can generate enough traffic.

Your sites are going to be targeting people in the United States. Why? Well, because views and clicks from people in this country are paid at a higher rate than in other countries. You might not care about American politics, but you can still use its drama to profit!

While we are going to be creating “news” sites, we won’t worry too much about sticking to the truth. Fake news takes less time to create, and it often spreads better than real news, since you aren’t as constrained by facts.

You then create your site, and choose its name, or you can also have one generated for you. A few suggested for me were eerily accurate to real-life “fake news” site title tropes–words like “Nationalist”, “Truth”, “Vision” and “Wire” dominated my suggested titles. You then get to choose if you want a domain name or not, with a paid-for site URL giving you more credibility with potential readers. Little details like this are what makes Fake It To Make It so wonderful–you’re playing a simple game (choosing the right options to give yourself more Credibility, which is measured numerically in-game) but the ease of what you’re doing (just a few clicks gets you a website and a logo) manages to encapsulate just how easy it is to generate and circulate believable viral fake news in the digital age.

Honestly, I don’t want to spoil too much of the game itself, so I’d recommend playing it now for free, in your browser.

Suffice to say that you’ll lose yourself in the fun of creating a fake news website before finally realising the consequences that your in-game actions have had within your own digital world.

Whatever you think of the game, or of fake news itself, it’s safe to say that we’re living in a weird time in terms of Internet People saying stuff, and your elderly relatives not knowing how to Google anything beyond cheesecake recipes and cat memes from 2006.

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