Yle News Lab’s Troll Factory game won at the European Digital Media Awards 2020 that recognises innovative digital media services.
Troll Factory won the award for the Best Digital Project to Engage Younger Audiences. The competition was described as tough. However, the judges chose Troll Factory unanimously and declared it the undisputed winner.
“Through gamification, we aimed at creating new ways to transmit meaningful information to different kinds of people. In this digital age, not all of us have the time or interest to study in-depth analyses. We need new methods and formats that combine fast reporting, investigative journalism, service design, data science, and software development”, say Jarno Koponen, the team leader of Troll Factory, and Jukka Niva, the head of News Lab.
Yle’s Troll Factory game deals with how social media can manipulate people’s opinions. In the game, you can see under the surface of social media updates, which reveals how memes, conspiracy theories and armies of bots are used to influence the feelings and behaviour of people. The player assumes the role of someone who spreads fake news and experiences how systematically you can spread hate speech and fake news. Troll Factory combines gaming experience with real-life social media content.
The game has attracted international attention before as well, when it won an award for media literacy in the Global Youth & News Media Prize competition in September 2019.