Kevin Roose, NYT’s business columnist, who has taken on writing about social media and US politics, triggered an avalanche of memes and mostly sarcastic comments on Twitter when he reposted a picture showing US President Donald Trump handing a MAGA cap to a hurricane victim standing waist-deep in muddy waters.
The original photo was taken during the Texas flooding in 2015 and its doctored version resurfaced during Hurricane Harvey.
Roose tweeted that the altered image has been shared 275,000 times on Facebook, suggesting the social media giant could apply the same tools it uses to combat ‘revenge porn’ “to prevent obviously fake photos from going viral.”
It’s unclear what set Roose off about the year-old image widely seen as a joke, of which there are plenty on social media.
Rising to the occasion, Trump supporters, including Jack Posobiec and Cassandra Fairbanks, had a good laugh by posting memes that NYT specialists might want to fact-check next.
Many were telling Roose that he had overreacted to what had obviously been intended as humor and satire.
Some raised the more serious issue of possible censorship that could result if Facebook starts policing memes.
When confronted by a user if he believes that thousands of people who reposted the meme were genuinely believing it was real, Roose refused to back down, asking the user to define “believe” and “real.”
After facing a massive backlash for his initial tweet, Roose complained that he was overwhelmed with “ur a dumb*ss” comments for doing a “viral normie tweet.”