Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fake Tweets Ethical?

Ok I admit it, I've been in a slump. Since life has had more distractions this school year I promised myself I wouldn't feel loser-ish over not making regular blog posts unless something just jumped out and grabbed me, thus feeling compelled to sit before the computer screen spending an hour or so pondering over the issue. (Yes.... I am a slowww writer.) So fast forward to this morning when I'm browsing through some Diigo links a friend posted. One that caught my eye was for Fodey's newspaper clipping generator. I like this one and have used it before personally- my children needed to know that throwing grapes at our Elf on a Shelf, Darby, was not appropriate and a danger to elves' health according to the "North Pole News"...
The next link listed was for Lemmetweetthatforyou. This site generates fake Tweets from any user name you type in. It uses their profile picture, their background from their Twitter page, and worst of all, you can type anything at all you want. In an effort to make the tweet even more authentic, it will appear as if this fake tweet has been favored and retweeted.
I decided to try it out before I got my Edupanties in a bunch and see how "real" it looks and how much further damage this site could cause by creating a fake tweet using my own profile.

So this is my real profile picture, with my real background image, and a real message appearing to come from my Twitter account, and yet.... It's not. The crazy thing is that anyone can create what I just did with a few strokes of the keyboard and instead of filling in the blank with "....", write something truly devastating to my career, family, friendship, etc. And to make things even better worse, you can actually tweet your fake message using your real Twitter account. 
I tweeted my fake tweet from my Classroom Twitter account. See picture.....

 I'm sure some will say I'm being "over the top" and silly. And I could definitely see how using this site in educational settings for educational purposes could be awesome, but I also think it teaches our kids a message of low standards in regards to media literacy. Students are already struggling so much with face to face interaction, I just feel like this site gives an additional array of tools to make poor choices and cause havoc that isn't really needed. On top of that, teaching students how to verify simple facts can be daunting, much less verifying if a tweet or a text message (yes- there is also a fake text message generator that looks eerily authentic. You can even choose your carrier, battery life, etc. of your generated fake text) is real or not. 
So, I give this site an F for #fail. It fails to give my students substance and good ethics. It fails to add value to what they are learning. It fails to stand up to the sites and apps that help my kids make good choices when creating using technology. 

Ok- my small rant is over. I will step off my soap box now. :)

PS- and yes- I do see some similarities in the newspaper clipping generator as far as creating things that are fake and pawning them off as "real" but for some reason the Newspaper Clipping Generator isn't as menacing as the Fake Tweet. I don't know why. I'm still grappling with it. Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts on either.


  1. Summer,

    I'm with you here. A little creepy, and definitely lots of negative potential. I can't imagine the fallout for educators on Twitter if something like this were used for nefarious purposes.

  2. thanks great info nice posting very intresting concept on this blogg