Jonathan Lau

"Rethink the Authenticity of Contemporary Social Media"

Section MS5, Bahar Noorizadeh

Keywords: social media, evidence, moving image, mapping

The advancement of internet today has altered our ways of data sourcing. Vast amount of open-access resources are readily available to us today. Media becomes a highly competitive industry, and news is no longer presented to us as mere articles that require digestion and reflection. Instead, they mostly come in the form of click-baiting titles, eye-catching photos or videos with a short concise text. In addition, information online can be created by anyone, and as long as they create immediate stimuli people would be immediately attracted. 

On the other hand, as viewers or readers, our smartphone has always acted as an immediate source of distraction and gratification. Further reducing the already limited time of reflection and our engagement in contemplative thinking with regards to the information we read. What makes matters worse is the vast amount of resources that exceed our reading capability. As a result, there is always a tendency to put blind trust in the material we read due to the abundance of information, and the lack of time and patience for digestion.

Titles, captions, and reports have always been media's best tools for mediation. At first, they act as helpful guidance in helping readers understand the information given and hence prevent any misinformation or miscommunication. However, in the case of Hong Kong, the mediation becomes manipulative. Through careful selection of words, simple edits, camera frames, misleading captions, and biased comments, the informer can easily redirect one's focus and in return disinform the news. As a result, despite the unitary source of information being readily available on the internet, the majority of Hongkongers still split into two extreme parties.

The project focuses on the Prince Edward MTR incident in Hong Kong that happened on August 31st, 2019. The event will be recreated diagrammatically as an attempt to solve the conflicting issues or doubts induced by different parties. For instance, did the police beat up random civilians? Did anyone actually died or have gone missing during the incident? What is the cause of the event? A diagrammatic format is chosen as it is the best medium to enable critical analysis, reflections and direct reorganization.

To create the diagrammatic report, the timelines done by Stand News 831, MTR and police report will be referenced in recreating the big picture of the event. Afterward, the study will focus on the specific timeframe where the MTR incident occurs in an attempt for a more refined investigation. Descriptions and information gathered from different forums, reports and videos will be cross-checked with few other recorded live streams, such as frame by frame analysis and audio analysis. The data will be presented in a single panel to represent the chaos of information abundance.