May 11, 2020

Finnish mobile game wins with fight against misinformation

smartphone and hand
Troll Factory uses real memes and social media content for players to select and use.
YLE

Troll Factory, a mobile game developed by YLE News Lab, was named the best digital project targeted at younger or millennial audiences at European Digital Media Awards 2020.

The game tasks players with growing their influence on social media by spreading fake news and disinformation in an attempt to demonstrate how fake news, emotive content and bot armies are systematically utilised to mould public mood, opinion and decision-making on issues such as immigration.

“The game is somewhat scary, it employs real memes and social media contents,” reads a press release from the European Digital Media Awards, a competition held annually by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

The competition jury called particular attention to how the game successfully utilises social media-oriented news journalism to make its examples feel real.

“This is fantastic. The clear winner by far!” they declared.

Jukka Niva, director of YLE News Lab, stressed in conjunction with the launch of the game that while most people have used social media to enrich their lives, it is important that they also understand how it functions and how it can be exploited for questionable purposes.

“New ways have been used for quite some time now to influence people’s thoughts and opinions, be they about politics or buying trainers,” he stated to YLE in May 2019.

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