The importance of context

In April 2018, a false BBC Report depicting an escalating armed conflict between NATO and Russia circulated on WhatsApp.

The 4-minute clip was a shortened version of an hour-long film created by the Irish marketing company, Benchmarking Assessment Group. Intended to look like a nonfiction news report, the film was designed as a “psychometric test” for clients to see how they would react in a disaster scenario.

Circulating beyond its intended context, the film reached viewers via WhatsApp and without the disclaimer about it being a “fictional dramatization.”

The BBC quickly issued a statement to quell the mounting confusion and assert that the content of the video was not created by the BBC.

Reference Image credit: stills from false BBC video, “Emergency Broadcast,” Benchmarking Assessment Group, October 2016, psychometric test. Background theme image from Shutterstock.

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