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Fake Aaron Rodgers article shows dangers of modern social media

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers, Getty Images

A fake Aaron Rodgers report made the rounds

The cardinal rule of media literacy is always fact-checking, and a fake article surrounding star New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers has only reinforced it.

On Facebook, an article has been circulating that claims Aaron Rodgers was caught using CBD gummies during his Achilles injury recovery. It also claims that the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback faces a possible lifetime ban from the sport.

The article, while presented to look like it came from Fox News, is a link to a CBD website that sells its own gummies. According to uStadium, the site has generated “hundreds of millions” of impressions from the article, which still remains on Facebook.

On the surface, the article could seem harmless. All it takes is a few clicks of the mouse or a quick Google search to determine that the article is a scam. In fact, the NFL itself is funding research to study the benefits of CBD.

Yet, the article is a microcosm of social media’s dangers.

Many people, for one reason or another, do not take the time to adequately determine if something is real or not. They take one look at an article or headline and assume its validity on the surface. This can cause false narratives to be created from sources of information that have no validity.

Someone could draw a false conclusion about Rodgers from the article and spread it to people they know, causing the misinformation to propagate. In a different situation, an aggregator can create a narrative around a team or player with a simple post that has barely any truth to it.

Many different factors can cause these different situations, whether it is a lack of responsibility from companies, bad actors trying to sow misinformation for a gain of some kind, or people not having the necessary media literacy skills.

Ultimately, the fake Rodgers article shows how vital it is to distinguish accurate information from fake information. While not a severe situation, it underlines the impact the spread of false information can have on the narratives of teams and players in the NFL.

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