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ABOUT FIGHTING FAKE HISTORY

Welcome to Fighting Fake History, a contemporary public history campaign to raise awareness of false or 'fake' history online, and how it has impacted the historical discipline. The project intends to make an active intervention into this persisting issue and encourage social media users to question what they see online.

The combination of social media and historical information has become treacherous. We all know how easily fake news can go viral, and fake history is another arm of this. The public have harnessed historical authority online from the professional historian and created accounts full of uncredited “history pics”, “history vids” or even questionable “history memes”. Curiosity encourages us to scroll aimlessly through the content, but without considering who is showing us these images, why we are seeing them and where they are coming from. 

What happens when historical misinformation goes viral and is believed en masse? More often than not, the public have shared, acted on it and paid the price. There has been a loss of basic historical and analytical skills that could have avoided such rampant spread of misinformation.

It is important to make a public intervention into this issue, as we are too used to taking what we see on social media at face value. This is a habit that has already caused damage to historical narratives and people, whether it be a seemingly harmless perpetuation of a myth about Oliver Cromwell banning Pie, or local businesses being fined for believing the Magna Carta could exempt them from lockdown.

This project explores these examples, to show why there is value in researching and questioning what we see before we share. It aims to influence the public to re-think how they interact with history on social media.

 

ABOUT THE CREATOR

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My name is Nicola, and I am a historian at the University of Bristol. I am passionate about making an intervention into the loss of historical authority and legitimacy online, while creating sharable and vibrant content that makes the public want to engage.

It is important to me to put a face to the project, as part of the issue with fake history online is its anonymity leading to a lack of accountability. 

I chose Instagram as my main platform in order to reach my target audience of social media users aged 18-30, who are setting the standards for social media use going forward. This website extends the project to anyone who is interested in the topic, and changing their own habits.