Alert: Don't Believe Everything You Read About the Migrant Caravan

WIRED | 10/24/2018 | Emily Dreyfuss
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Call it the era of misinformation. Call it a crisis of trust. If you must, call it fake news. The truth is that in 2018, hot-button news events are immediately weaponized online by interested parties, whether that’s foreign actors trying to undermine democracy, local politicians trying to rally their base, spammers trying to make a quick buck, even trolls in it for the old-fashioned lulz—or all of the above.

In this treacherous landscape, you need to be armed with facts, and an awareness that conversation you see online may not be what it appears, especially when it comes to divisive social issues like immigration.

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This week, you need to be aware of misinformation surrounding news of a caravan of migrants walking from Central America through Mexico to the US.

On October 13, some hundreds of people began to march from San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras toward the United States border, and have since been joined by thousands. Accurate reporting of how many people are on the move is hard to come by, but recent estimates put it around 7,500. The trip from San Pedro de Sula to the closest US border crossing in Texas is approximately 2,000 miles, and requires people to pass through inhospitable borders. People walking and hitchhiking know that when—if—they reach the US border, they likely will not be allowed to cross. Their children may be taken from them. They may be arrested and sent back. But they come anyway, fleeing gang violence and poverty.

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They are not yet close to the US border, having only crossed between Guatemala and Mexico last weekend.

Journalists are traveling with the caravan, but even their on-the-ground reporting is competing with so much false information out there, and sometimes being co-opted by it, making it difficult to sort fact from fiction. One viral tweet spreading...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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