25 September 2017 By Francesca Fanucci
A popular satire website in Italy found out what happens when Facebook loses its sense of humor: they see fake news everywhere.
Publishing under the slogan “The filth that makes the news”, Lercio is a fabled multi-award-winning website of satirical news in Italy.
In its early days, some of Lercio’s stories were taken as truth and shared by the mainstream press. However, soon the name Lercio (Italian for “dirt”) appearing alongside as the source of the news became a renowned synonym of virulent satire, to the point that nowadays the expression “Is this Lercio?” has become common use amongst Italians whenever they read or view any scarcely credible news in the mainstream media.
But what happens when satire lampooning people or institutions fails to be perceived as such, even by the social media and ends up being treated as misleading “fake news”? More importantly, how exactly do social media draw a distinction between pungent satire and mere trolling?