Have you ever fallen into the nets of fake news? Have you ever let yourself be manipulated? Have you been carried away by your emotions when broadcasting a WhatsApp message, tweet, meme, or any other kind of comment? Maybe you don't think so, but it's likely that at least once you've been the guinea pig of a media lab. And an experiment by a group of Academics in collaboration with the University of Cambridge will prove how easy it is.

Have you ever wondered why more than 70% of Donald Trump's account followers are nothing but bots? Although it is evident that Trump is a very egocentric person, those 46.066.054 fake followers do not exist just to give him a false image of approval and popularity. They play a crucial role at the propagandistic level.

Fake Followers Audit for Donald Trump's Twitter Account | credit: SparkToro

To understand the mind behind these strategies, the DROG group has created a simple -and quite scary- game. In "Get Bad News," you are a noob entrepreneur trying to make a name for yourself in the world of social media and news... and what is the easiest way to get that fame? Spreading disinformation

The game is your mentor. It explains how to manipulate people and what strategies you must follow to be a pro: what content to publish, how to manage bots, how to discredit sources, how to oversize facts, how to create memes with subliminal content, and many other tactics.

For each new strategy that you master, you will get a badge that certifies you as a good impersonator, manipulator, bot manager, etc. Pretty much the dream of every modern politician

One of the badgess you can earn

What's scary is that while the game has an educational purpose —to give you tools to learn how to detect fake news— it's sad to see how easily you can build a conspiracy, manipulate millions of people, or damage control a scandal. Think again why the Cambridge Analytica scandal was so important, and why it means pretty much nothing to the people now.

It also shows how easy it is to manipulate the masses, and this, while fun in a game, is also quite sad.

If you think you can do well, you eventually have the option to challenge your friends and see if they are better at the art of misinformation than you. If you think you can beat the almost 10,000 points, we scored, share your score!

Let the games begin! ... But truth be told, this is no game