Zendaya is not pregnant. The Hollywood star has – no doubt, reluctantly – addressed a fake video which suggests she is.
The clip, made by a TikTok user, features an ultrasound pic superimposed over a real Instagram post made by Zendaya months ago with the caption, “I love you. Halfway there [heart emoji].”
At the end of the video, it’s revealed the whole thing is a prank – “You’ve been Krissed!” they say, referring to a Kris Jenner meme – but that didn’t stop the video from going viral or from making Zendaya’s supposed pregnancy a trending topic on Twitter.
Taking to her Insta stories, she writes:
“See now, this is why I stay off Twitter. Just making stuff up for no reason…weekly.”
In a second story she adds:
“Anyway, back to filming… Challengers,” which is the new romantic drama she’s starring in alongside Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist.
We’re glad to see Zendaya is rising above it all but I think we all know, a fake video never should’ve received this much attention. It should’ve stayed in the depths of the TikTok world. But since it hasn’t, it’s an important reminder for us all to be conscious consumers of social media.
We can’t control the content others put out there. But as consumers, we can control what we do with it. And the reality is that with one simple click, we have the power to make something completely false (and ridiculous!) go viral. With one simple click, we have the power to spread a lie across the globe that impacts a real person.
In Zendaya’s case, a number of people commented on the video, some finding it hilarious, some in outrage on her behalf. That engagement, whether positive or negative, boosted the video to more viewers.
Some shared the TikTok video on Twitter, as if it were true. Some shared it to point out that it was in fact made up. But by sharing the video instead of taking a screenshot, the video’s visibility was boosted to a limitless audience. And even more people watched it and shared it and spread it online.
While it seems an insurmountable challenge to stop something like this from happening again in the future, there are little steps each of us can take:
*Think twice before we click.
*Think twice before we share or pass on information.
*Actively choose not to comment on a fake post if your engagement will boost that post’s visibility and help spread it to a wider audience.
*Actively choose not to share something that is so obviously ridiculous. And if we absolutely must…
*Share it thoughtfully, without a direct link to the content. Screen shot instead.
These are simple acts that involve just a few extra seconds of mindfulness before our finger hits the mouse – and it can completely transform the digital landscape.
So yeah, Zendaya responded to the false videos. But she shouldn’t have to. We, as a society, can definitely do better when it comes to boosting ridiculous content.
(Feature Image Credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru/Shutterstock)