Social media allows news to travel to vast numbers of people at ridiculously fast speeds. Because of this we should always be wary of the legitimacy of what we are reading online.
Fakes news is simply news that spreads false information.
Although fake news is not a completely new concept, it has recently come to the forefront of the media attention after the role that it played in the US Presidential election. During the US elections propagandist used the social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to turn fake news into viral sensations (Manjoo, 2017). It was found that most popular fake news stories were more widely shared on social media than the most popular mainstream legitimate news stories (Silverman, 2016). Fake news is seen as a massive problem for democracy and free debate.
The distribution of news on social media is dramatically different from any past means of spreading news because, content can be shared among social media users with no significant third part filtering, fact-checking, or editorial judgement (Allcott and Gentzkow, 2017).
How to spot fake news
Video created by me, content taken from Facebook.
My experience with Fake News
Although this example is going to make me seem ridiculously gullible, this is just an example of fake news and how anyone can fall for it – even the most obvious of articles.
Once a friend sent me this article on Facebook:
I responded saying something along the lines of ‘omg how could any one be so stupid and think that would work!!!!’
The article was on the ‘the daily mash’…
Although this is a silly example, it highlights the need to stay vigilant when reading information online!
To think about
Facebook has recently invested $14 million into an initiative to try and combat fake news. Do you think that combating fake news is possible?