DIY Fake News Generator: Do Some Chart Cosmetics

Fake news generators use also small tricks
  • Fake news generator techniques include small tricks.
  • You can deliberately misinterpret real data.
  • We can suggest to readers that the glass is half empty or that it is half full.
  • All you have to do is tweak the charts a bit.
  • Here is a nice example.

News or fake news?


The World Is Full Of Charts

News Source: The Globe

Ladies and gentlemen, read the second part of our fake news generator course, about chart cosmetics. The world press, various blogs, encyclopedias, online marketplaces, product brochures, company websites–everything is full of small and large charts, infographics, data visualizations. One gets the feeling that without a chart, an article or a post is no longer serious. The chart has become a required item.

But because the data is on a nice chart, can you already trust a post? Of course not. The reliability of the charts depends in the first place whether the data used are real. But also how they are served. There is a case of a half-full glass and a half-empty glass. The same news can be presented in several ways. The same data series can be interpreted in many manners.

This is How a Solid Rise Will Be a Sensation

The reader sees a simple example of this here. Let’s look at the first of the three graphs. On this, we see a rather dull, slowly rising line, close to the horizontal. The trend is upwards, but the change seems small. This would make it difficult to write a post suitable for click-bait addressing.

Fake News Generator Methods. Three Charts Show How You Can Influence the Reader with Small Tricks.
Fake News Generator Methods. Three Charts Show How You Can Influence the Reader with Small Tricks.

Chart 2 already looks a little better. The rise is stronger, though still bland. The third chart already shows a much better, strong, dynamic rise. The value of the data set behind it seems to jump. It looks much better, it also grabs attention. Much more suitable to be an illustration of exciting writing. There are pages where they only show this sort of chart.

So Works Our Fake News Generator

If someone hadn’t noticed, all three charts represent the same data set. (You can see that the scale is the same in each case.) The random data series start at 192 and go up to 251. This is an increase of almost 31 percent anyway, so in fact, the first figure also shows a significant increase.

What did we do with the chart it looks so different? The second chart is compressed, transformed from a horizontal rectangle into a vertical rectangle. In the third case, we also changed the scale. So that the line fills the area between the bottom and top of the chart. There are no empty areas left. The line has become much steeper.

So we can use the same data set to show that hardly anything has happened, almost nothing has changed (first chart). Or to shout that the rise here is huge. (Chart 3.) You can choose. These are not big things, they are less manipulative than using fake data. Or to reach manipulative conclusions based on arbitrarily chosen periods. (For the latter, read the post: DIY Fake News Generator –Was Gold a Better Investment, or Stocks?)

Chart cosmetics in the Interest Desert

What can this figure be good for in practice? For many investments, stocks, bonds, commodities, we can show why it is good and why it is bad. For example, we can represent the value of an interest-bearing asset, the price of a bond. If its value increases by 37 percent in 35 years, it corresponds to only 0.9 percent interest annually. But the third chart suggests a big success.

This interest is rather weak in the light of historical experience, and will most likely not catch up with inflation. Today, the situation is similar in many countries around the world. For example, German 30-year government bond yields are only by 0.1 percent and Swiss 30-year bonds, by –0.2 percent. That is one reason we say that one of the big problems in the coming years, or decades, will be how we can preserve the real value of our savings. (Read post: The 3 Biggest Challenges in Personal Finance Today)



I’m not a certified financial advisor nor a certified financial analyst, accountant nor lawyer. The contents on my site and in my posts are for informational and entertainment purposes and reflecting my collection of data, ideas, opinions. Please, make your proper research or consult your advisors before making any investment or financial or legal decisions.


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