In my editing courses, fact-checking and verification are important elements. And I always take care to be sure something is real before sharing it on social media.
Well, almost always. Earlier, this week, my fandom for “Star Wars” eclipsed my usual caution. I saw a link on Twitter to what was purported to be the trailer for the new movie in the series. After a quick look at the preview, I retweeted the link and posted it to Facebook with the message “stay on target.”
Several friends and my cousin pointed out within minutes that the trailer was made by fans and not the real preview of the movie. I edited my status update on Facebook and sent a followup tweet.
Correction: This may not be the trailer you’re looking for. Fan made. https://t.co/n4dieHH16W
— Andy Bechtel (@andybechtel) November 26, 2014
How did I fall for a fake and share it? Here are some possible explanations:
- The person who tweeted the link is an editor with many years of experience. I trusted him and still do, but even reliable sources make mistakes.
- I knew the official trailer was set to be released on Nov. 28, so a leaked version appearing on YouTube a couple of days beforehand seemed plausible.
- The fan-generated trailer is pretty convincing. It even fooled Rolling Stone magazine.
- I didn’t read the comments on the YouTube post that would have tipped me off. But I tend to ignore reader comments, especially on that site.
- I am a big fan of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, and my excitement about a new movie let my defenses down. It was a trap.
I regret the error, and I apologize for sharing bad information. I will double my efforts.