The False Demise of the Big Mac and the Problem With Fake Satire

In Depth

There’s a post making the social media rounds purporting to contain a tweet from McDonald’s about the excision of the Big Mac from their menus! Whatever shall we do? Nothing, actually, because it’s some dumb fake bullshit — as is every post ever produced on a fake satire site.

The whole thing was based around a post on The Daily Buzz centered by a fake tweet:

The Daily Buzz also reported that McDonald’s would, as part of its effort to trim its menu and win back all the customers flocking to Chipotle lately, be getting rid of large-size options and apple pies. Just one problem: The Daily Buzz is one of those idiotic non-satire satire sites we all hate so goddamn much. Twitter-savvy readers will immediately notice the lack of a blue verified checkmark on the avatar — that should be a clue right away that the story is bullshit. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not particularly twitter-savvy, and it’s easy to see why they got taken in — despite being posted in late December of 2014, this electronic canker sore of a post is just making the rounds now (as tends to happen with viral fake satire posts).

Look, we’ve all had some fun writing fake McDonald’s tweets. McDonald’s makes a glorious punching bag, and there’s so much humor potential to exploit. But what The Daily Buzz doesn’t get is the same thing all of these worthless bullshit satire sites (Daily Currant, Free Wood Post, Empire News) don’t get — satire has no purpose if it’s not amusing, illuminating, or edifying in some way, especially if readers don’t realize it’s satire. It’s why The Onion and Clickhole are so beloved, and why fake satire sites will always be nigh-universally reviled. An idiotic piece of shit like this, which punches down at both American gullibility and those suffering from the very real problem of crippling student loan debt, can never be in the same conversation (let alone the equal) as one like this, which shines much-needed levity into the dark place that is American politics.

The goal of genuine satire is either to entertain or to punch up at the truth to say what we’re all thinking — The Onion frequently succeeds at both, making us laugh so that we don’t cry. The entire goal of these fake satire internet cancers, meanwhile, is to trick people into thinking a fake story is real, cause it to go viral, and rack up hits. And I get the desire to pull pageviews — it’s the business we’re all ultimately in. But doing it without even trying to add anything to the conversation, with deception the active and only objective, is complete horseshit.

There’s no motivation from these fake satire sites to produce something that enriches anyone’s life in any way. They’re not seeking to inform, and they’re not seeking to entertain. Their entire purpose is to exploit humanity’s cupidity — and the fact that older generations often don’t fully comprehend that the internet is terrible and there are people whose sole reason for existing is to troll.

Ultimately, nothing that has ever been posted on any of these sites has ever added anything positive to the lives of anyone reading them. I realize these websites aren’t going anywhere (in much the same way as hate groups will always have their own shitty corners of the internet), but the least we can do is try to halt the flow of idiocy wherever we see it. Always, always tell someone who shares a fake satire story that it’s bullshit. I don’t know if it’ll make a dent, but it definitely can’t hurt.

Image via Popartic/Shutterstock.

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