You should be wary of fake news on April Fool’s Day


An often-used image that mourns the death of actor Sylvester Stallone – who is still alive today

Darius Melton, Opinion Editor

April Fool’s Day is fun when the stakes are low. Open doors get saran wrapped. Whoopie cushions are deployed in elementary school classrooms worldwide. The friends that everyone thinks would make a “cute couple” pretend to be dating for a day.

Corporations get involved in the festivities as well. Television channels like Cartoon Network and its nighttime block, Adult Swim, regularly fiddle with their channels on April 1, doing things like adding googly eyes to all of their cartoons in 2018. Google is famous for creating interactive “doodles” and map-based games, turning Google Maps into a Pac-Man board in 2015 and 2017 and into a game of Snake for 2019.

As a day for people to let loose and goof around for a bit, April Fool’s Day is excellent; however, when those involved aren’t careful, things can escalate from harmless fun to an actual crisis.

Sometimes, it’s a tasteless joke that plays with death. Though it was in Feb. 2018 rather than the prank day of April 1, far too many people created Facebook-post tributes to the “loss” of celebrities like Sylvester Stallone and felt egg on their face after said celebrity has to come out publicly to tell the world that they’re not actually dead.

While rumors like this are designed to mess with people, other times it’s just a joke getting too out of hand. Just last week, people on Reddit were falling over themselves because of a “Kayfabe News” article – the professional wrestling equivalent of “The Onion” – that joked that WrestleMania 35 is canceled, despite the reasoning in the headline being that it was due to “match-rigging.”

It’s also not always “fake” news as much as it is an overreaction to practically harmless news. Though it’s been pulled off well many times before and after, April Fool’s Day 2013 saw a controversy where two Florida DJs almost faced legal danger because of the panic caused by their proclamation that “dihydrogen monoxide” was leaking out of local taps – which is true, because that’s just water.

We here at The Seahawk care a lot about the authenticity of the news that goes out to our readers, so we urge you to take caution on April 1 and question everything you’re told. Check your favorite celebrity’s Twitter page after you’re told about their death. Figure out who the source is when you stumble upon a headline that’s too wild to be true. Study up on your tenth-grade chemistry lessons.

Have fun this April Fool’s Day, but also make sure that your news intake is sound.