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Brief story of voice messages on WhatsApp in football

Behind big events, there are big fakes

Brief story of voice messages on WhatsApp in football Behind big events, there are big fakes

Journalism manuals explain that one of the main rules of this profession is fact checking. For this reason, at a time when the relationship between footballers, society and the media has become hypermediated, there is increasing control over the news that is coming out: the challenge, for sportsmen and professionals, is also the fight against hoaxes, bombs, the explosion of scoops. WhatsApp has consequently become an uncontrollable tool and its contents are difficult to track by clubs. Whatsapp voice messages have become intimate vehicles that leverage the emotion of the revealed backstory of the knowledgeable friend, from the "storekeeper or doctor of that team", or from the classic "source close to the dressing room". That's why we should worry when on WhatsApp we have a friend who continuosly sends submitted voice messages.

The latest case is the alleged fight in the Atalanta dressing room between the coach Gasperini and Papu Gomez. A message that contains all the typical elements of a "viral Whatsapp audio", in which players are called by name (it makes much more reliable), the playing time is alaways the same (1:50-2:30 minutes). At one point, on these voice messages it appear Ilicic, the Colombians, the Dutch, the president, the resignation. It's the perfect content for fan and football WhatsApp groups, and it triggers speculation about what's actually going to happen. The chain of voice messages, in fact, has become almost an appointment, a pre-event that precedes the actual occurrence. They also become curious because, usually, they drag behind many consequent messages, both written and vocal. You still spend coffee breaks reading replicas to them. New versions are popping up and others deny it. And it's hunting down who has the safest source. But these messages are never public such as their authors. 

They are not threads or videos that run on Facebook or Instagram, the authors are not recognizable. These are rumors, and for this very reason, they fuel suspicion. There have been cases of sexual origin, such as those of Borriello and Romagnoli, but also and above all on the negotiations of the players. Nainggolann's return to Rome had inflamed the square. The most listened to and famous are those involving violence, mutiny (Naples), brawls - an exemplary case is also that of Birsa and Pavoletti in Cagliari - or backstory (De Rossi and Totti's farewell) or jokes (Lotito). The intimate size of a vowel on Whatsapp makes the information sent more credible despite often having turned out, in most cases, to be a fake. It's the thrill of the background. But they attract the attention even of the most scrupulous and doubtful, of those who write little and usually would not listen. And yet they do, because if the voice is true, it would be a resounding episode. 

The problem of fake news is one of the main theme in contemporary debate. These voice messages are often a main vehicle of fake news, designed for fun or to create problems for those directly concerned, such as the recent history of the beneficial effects of vitamin C on the virus. As when, in the transfermarket, prosecutors bring out fallacious indiscretions: there is always a purpose. The vowels on the teams are a mainly Italian phenomenon. There are no particular similar cases abroad, although, in recent days, the media in Argentina have written a lot about the vowels speculating about Maradona's death. The principle is always the same. 

Unfortunately, not only sporting cases have been seen and involving much more serious topics, such as earthquakes or floods - of course, they were also born with coronavirus. But in Italian football this phenomenon is radical. The fans are hyperconnected with clubs and footballers, they follow them everywhere and the communication of sportsmen today is hypermediated. Although everything is read on media and social media, the curiosity of fans continues to want to go further, and the content that the press and society prepare for sport fan is no longer enough. There is always the search for something exclusive and untrue, "the last news" to tell at the bar or on the chats of friends. Something that brings the fan into the world of the team that cheers and can show it to others. Although this is not true at all, as sometimes it is with voice messages.