what do you get when msm channels the daily mail?

You get rubbish.

Tonight TV1 & Stuff both shared an “article” (which also featured in the Daily Mail) about what working from home will do to us in the future, including a 3D render of “Anna”, with clawed hands, hunched back, sunken eyes, & other horrors. It’s the result of a research study, they said.

Except it’s not. The whole thing is based on a blog by a UK furniture company – the news media take would make a useful example for teachers to use with students learning to assess claims in the media.

I mean, TV1’s take tells us up front: the company “commissioned a 3D render” of what the worker-from-home of the future could look like – presumably using prompts with an AI, going by the image. There’s no mention anywhere on the TV1 page of an actual research study, let alone a link to one. The only time “several scientists and researchers” get a mention (none by name) is at the end, when the story provides a list of actions to avoid becoming an Anna that are pretty standard; I remember such advice being commonplace even before working from home became a thing.

So let’s apply the CRAAP test.

Is the story Current, or Relevant? Yes to both, in that for quite a few people working from home – for at least part of the time – remains a thing. You’d expect some to have an interest in this.

Does it have Authority and Accuracy; what’s the source of the material? Well, despite the science-y slant, the source is a furniture company; there’s no evidence of an actual research study & no names attached to the content. And an awful lot of words like “could” that are a bit of a giveaway to its hypothetical nature.

And what is the Purpose of the story? For the media outlets carrying it, I’m sufficiently cynical to answer, clickbait. For the company that’s the original source? My guess would be, gaining attention & selling their products. There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that, and the original blog contains sensible advice, & does name sources, but it’s reprehensible of supposedly responsible news outlets to treat the material as actual news.


Dylan Reeve has a good thread on Twitter about how the company behind it gets quite a bit of traction from these stories.