In late September, I was perusing a friend’s Facebook page who had posted, “I stand with the Iranian protests.” One of their friends indicated that they had gotten their information about it from TikTok and Imgur because they didn’t trust news outlets.
Oh, I’ll own it. I had no freaking idea what Imgur was. It “is an image hosting and sharing site, favoured by users of social media and social news sites including Reddit, Twitter, and Digg because of its ease of use and flexibility.” At first glance, it looks so… random. Pets, ads, dance videos, and various tweets.
I searched Iran and #Iran, but found nothing pertinent. But Iranian gave me 118 hits, only some of which were relevant.
Still, this fascinated me. I had seen several pieces in the New York Times, such as this one. Women Take Center Stage in Antigovernment Protests Shaking Iran. “Women have been casting off their legally required head scarves, forming the primary image of the protests. But grievances against a repressive regime go far beyond the hijab.”
This is not to say that one can’t find important stories almost anywhere. I just don’t see myself using Imgur as my go-to for the latest news.
On the other hand, Imgur is the answer to the question, “How did an image of a fake Massachusetts flag end up in a brochure for Martha’s Vineyard migrants?”
From the Boston Globe. Two summers ago, Will Bodine of Pittsfield, MA whipped up a flag redesign in “‘upwards of 10 minutes’ on his computer. The concept was simple: a blue shield emblazoned with the official state flower — the mayflower — encircled by six blue stars, all splashed against a white backdrop.
“Bodine… shared it on Facebook. He also uploaded it to Imgur, an image-hosting website, where, until recently, it had only been viewed a few times.
“Before nearly 50 migrants arrived from Texas on planes chartered by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, lawyers said they were handed brochures containing erroneous information about cash assistance and other benefits they would receive in Massachusetts.
“While it remains unclear who created the pamphlets, they included a rudimentary map of the state, a picture of a lighthouse, a photo of a sign reading ‘Massachusetts Welcomes You’ — and Bodine’s obscure reimagining of the state flag, rather than the real one.”
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver noted this event in the first five minutes of his 9/25/22 program.
I suppose this gets to my point about checking reliable sources of information. As Bodine noted, “’No one had seen this flag until some idiot staffer for DeSantis or whoever’ stumbled across it… ‘I cannot fathom why they would use the wrong one.'”