Wildcraft has been running the #WildcraftWilding hashtag for quite some time. And quite a few people have latched on to it too, on Twitter and Instagram showcasing their Wildcraft products in an appropriately outdoor’ish setting.
Recently, when Wildcraft tweeted this, I was thoroughly intrigued.
And then, they responded with another tweet… only to delete it almost immediately!
This is interesting, and perhaps one of the first occasion where a brand has called out ‘fake news’ because the visual used to perpetuate the fake news happens to be from its campaign, through an influencer!
The background is equally interesting. J.Aslam Basha, Chairman – Minority Department Tamil Nadu Congress Committee is among the early handles on Twitter who tweeted the fake news. He credited it to ‘Sanjay Singh’ but without tagging him!
Kicked by the number of shares he received for it, he retweeted it a few hours later, despite many people pointing to him that the news is fake, including Boom Live, which focuses on debunking fake news.
He then retweeted Boom’s tweet too, but hasn’t bothered to delete his original tweet, thereby spreading it even further.
He had tagged a few handles in his first fake news tweet and one of them happens to be Tamil actor Khushbu. She retweeted Aslam’s tweet without even considering the veracity of the information, and thereby spreading it to her 1.18 million followers.
Shashi Tharoor fell for it too, but he had the presence of mind to delete his tweet and share a clarification.
Considering Boom, which is in the area of debunking fake news, has already debunked the news and has been actively spreading it to some of the top peddlers of this fake news, it is a curious act that Wildcraft, the brand, took to the debunking too!
There is no mention of Wildcraft in any of the tweets where the fake story has been added to the photo. Hence, there is perhaps no pressing reason for Wildcraft to get into the debunking act at all. But, they perhaps saw value in adding to something people are discussing and sharing widely. And their context is that the source photo and post on Instagram is by a #WildcraftWilding user.
But sharing (retweeting) a legitimate fake news debunking service’s (like Boom Live) should have been enough in this case.