Save This Tenta-Cool Tree Dweller While You Still Can!


Nature, as a rule of thumb, follows the rule “Survival of the fittest”. Some animals realize the strengths that others in their species can’t utilize, and thrive over competition thanks to these traits. One such example of this in action is the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, a scarce species of octopus which has taken residence in the temperate rainforests of the North American west coast. They evolved to make use of special skin adaptations and the natural moisture of the area to survive out of water. Like a monkey in the jungle, the tree octopus uses their tentacles to grab branches in a locomotion process called tentaculation. They also use them to strike and kill small creatures or grab eggs. While wonderous creatures who thrive greatly in the environments they are fit to survive in, things like deforestation and hunting for fashion have cut down the population. This article is a call to action to help defend the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus and its population with your donations completely in I-Tunes gift cards. 

As if the cliché gift card donation scam joke wasn’t enough to tip you off, everything I just typed in that above paragraph was a fabrication. It’s a clever, albeit outlandish, hoax created by the folks over at with the intention to teach students about fake news. Upon closer inspection, it’s clearly a joke, with its outlandish photos and faux advertisements for their sale in the fashion industry. Satire news like this article and The Onion are fun things to scroll. Not all fake news is as innocent or obvious as these though, and it’s important to steer clear of it. Now I suppose it’s only fair that I give you some real information regarding this misinformation. 

Why might someone write fake news? The first thing to realize is that fake news is always written for a reason. Primarily, that reason is to spread misinformation often to rile people up in political or otherwise influential events. This has only gotten worse with the advent of social media, creating a protective bubble that prevents someone from seeing the other side. Social media algorithms like to expose people to these hyper-specific views because it increases user attention and therefore ad revenue. Janna Anderson from said it best: “New information platforms feed the ancient instinct people have to find information that syncs with their perspectives: A 2016 study that analyzed 376 million Facebook users’ interactions with over 900 news outlets found that people tend to seek information that aligns with their views.” 

The University of West Florida has a great guide on how to identify when an article is dodgy. While not the most appropriate lettering, the CRAAP test helps to identify the illegitimate sites.

The first C stands for currency, and not for money. The guide explains, “many times on Facebook, you will click on a story and notice that the date was from a few months or years ago, but your friends are acting outraged as if it is happening at the moment.”

The R stands for relevance. While it means whether or not it retains to the subject, in the case of fake news, it’s best to think of it like the time period, and whether or not there’s a reason it was written at this time.

The first A is authority. Is the article pushing an agenda? Compare it to other articles.

The second A stands for accuracy. Do they have the facts to back up their claims?

Finally, P stands for purpose. Why was it written? To outrage you, convince you of an incorrect view? Pay attention to the points that CRAAP can help to reveal to you.

In the age of technology, the most crucial thing is to be aware of when something may be intent on misleading you. Fake news is more prevalent than ever, and more often than not, it’s trying to manipulate you for the gain of a single side. Practice reading unbiased news, or if that isn’t possible, analyze both sides of the coin. Until then, stay informed and save the Tree Octopus while you still can.