Amidst the recent passage of Tropical Storm Hilary through the City of Angels, the Los Angeles Dodgers took to social media to clear up some bewildering misconceptions surrounding their iconic Dodger Stadium.
A surge of social media chatter had Dodger Stadium trending, as netizens came across images and videos suggesting that the stadium’s parking lot and its surroundings had succumbed to flooding. However, the truth was far from this visual illusion.
In reality, the seemingly inundated parking lot owed its appearance to the play of light on the wet and rain-soaked surface. The Dodgers themselves stepped in to address the rampant misperceptions, humorously stating on their social media platforms, “Dodger Stadium trending? We get it. It looks beautiful this morning,” accompanied by images portraying a fairly dry ballpark and parking lot.
In the age of rapid digital sharing during extraordinary weather events like Tropical Storm Hilary’s visit to Southern California, it’s almost inevitable to encounter misleading information amidst the online flurry of updates.
Karen North, a digital social media professor at USC, shed light on this phenomenon, stating, “When something as significant as a hurricane, or even a part of it, makes its presence felt in Los Angeles, everyone aims to capture the most sensational depiction or offer commentary on it.”
Beyond Dodger Stadium, attempts to deceive social media users extended to other corners of the internet. For instance, manipulated videos surfaced, falsely captioning rides at Universal Studios, attempting to deceive viewers. Similarly, a video purportedly showing the Metro Wilshire/Vermont station submerged in floodwaters circulated on social media. L.A. Metro promptly debunked this video, highlighting the importance of verifying sources.
North emphasized the need to scrutinize the origins of such content, advising, “Take a look at the source. If a reputable news outlet is sharing images, they are far more likely to be accurate compared to content posted by individuals on Twitter or Instagram.”
In a world where information spreads at the speed of the internet, discernment and reliance on credible sources remain paramount to separate fact from fiction, even in the midst of nature’s fury.