How dangerous is fake news?


In the «crime scene», the suspended, migrants and angry citizens smashed their heads in a Dortmund hot spot. Social networks, whose users poured fuel on the fire of the dispute, served as fire accelerators. Does our real world still have control over the virtual one?

It is well known that the Dortmund “Tatort” likes to draw extreme worlds. In “Heile Welt” the murder of a young high-rise resident served as a beacon that let conflicts in the socially disadvantaged area spill over into violence: rights against leftists, migrants against the police, the poor and those left behind against the system itself. In the past, up to the riot demos, you probably wouldn’t have noticed much of these angry citizens, but since the existence of social networks, you can organize yourself “emotionally” in the group.

Unfortunately, “facts” that are passed on over and over again are based on fake news and misinterpretations. Where did false reports from the virtual world turn into violence in reality?

What was it about?

In the Gerberzentrum, a dreary high-rise estate in Dortmund, a charred corpse is found in the storage room. It caught a young resident, four months pregnant. But she did not perish in the fire, the woman was slain. © The  new member of the Dortmund homicide squad, Rosa Herzog (Stefanie Reinsperger), is investigating the case with her colleagues Faber (Jörg Hartmann), Bönisch (Anna Schudt) and Pawlak (Rick Okon).


 The  suspects are representative of the microcosm of the high-rise estate in which the case takes place: a young drug dealer, a caretaker mad about control and a provoked suspect who, after the bankruptcy of his shop (because of Corona), lived illegally in a glass case stuck with old newspapers, which used to be his business …

What was it really about?

About the collapse of society and how it is facilitated by social media and fake news. ©

 The  staff in “Heile Welt” (screenplay: Dortmund regular author Jürgen Werner) consisted of social cases, migrants without a chance and right and left demagogues. ©

 The y were all angry citizens in their own way.

Every event in the tanner center was recorded on cell phone, posted on social networks and promptly commented on hundreds of times. In order to make the “wildfire” of social media comments vivid, director Sebastian Ko used the stylistic device of dozens of messages popping up on the TV screen. If a migrant was arrested, his buddies immediately took out their smartphones and posted the incident online. © The  result: anger shared a thousand times.

Where does fake news actually trigger violence?

Fake news is not a new phenomenon. ©

 The y used to be called rumors. One of the best-known false reports regarding the immediate opening of the border in Berlin on November 9, 1989, led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Eastern Bloc. Virtual rumors have a particularly drastic and tangible effect in cyberbullying today. Around 15 percent of young people in Germany between the ages of 14 and 15 have already experienced cyberbullying as victims. More than one in ten victims even had thoughts of suicide.

In the same survey in 2018, eight percent of Internet users stated that they had been sexually harassed online. Politically motivated violence through “net deception” is also very likely. In the course of the German refugee debate, a photo was shared 13,000 times on Facebook, showing six dark-skinned men urinating against a church wall. A fake interpretation, in fact. People just prayed.

How can the “hater” problem be solved?

Jürgen Werner, regular author of the Dortmund “Tatorte”, advises less hysteria and more serenity in the culture of political debate: “One can discuss whether an Indian costume is still appropriate for the carnival. But to label everyone who wears such a costume as a racist is exactly the level of hysteria that the ‘haters’ love so much. It gives them power over morality, and it opens the door to ‘fake news’ because we are increasingly losing our culture of discussion and debate. “

Werner also dares to forecast the future: “I’m afraid that ‘fake news’ is a virus that can no longer be caught. We have to learn to deal with it. We must not lose confidence in the strengths of our democracy. Trust in us as a society. In our common sense. If we allow mistrust to prevail, what is happening in America is just the beginning. “

In Switzerland there are special initiatives that fight against hatred and fake news online, such as “NetzCourage” and “Stop Hate Speech”.

Can you make a living from the pop hit “Sunshine Reggae”?


 The re was a consoling scene in this rather bleak «crime scene». Inspector Faber, who is around 50 years old, picks up his colleague Bönisch, who is of the same generation, at home with a freshly acquired retro Opel Manta and the old world hit “Sunshine Reggae”. ©

 The  song by the Danish pop duo Laid Back stayed at the top of the German charts for six weeks in the summer of 1983, but was a big hit almost everywhere in the world.

Behind Laid Back are the humble Copenhagen musicians Tim Stahl and John Guldenberg. In over 40 years of careers, apart from “Sunshine Reggae” with “Bakerman” and “White Horse”, they only had two other, much smaller hits. Nevertheless, the musicians said in an interview with the Teleschau agency in 2005: “We lead a good life, we lack nothing. We made millions on this song. We have the rights, something like that should never be given away. To be honest: one hit is enough. “

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