The rise of fake news

Written by Tom Coates


fake news

Fake news is dominating social media channels and it’s becoming is increasingly difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction – especially when official news media is often releasing this information.

The term ‘propaganda’ has been around for centuries and holds a lot of similarities to fake news. Its purpose is to spread biased or misleading information to promote a political cause or a point of view. But with the use of the internet, fake news is having a serious effect on businesses and individuals whose credibility is getting tarnished by a lie that is spread to millions by a click of a button.

It’s believed that fake news influenced the US election and the Brexit vote which has left audiences even more sceptical about the information they read from news channels. It’s been found that 23 of the 50 top-performing fake news hoaxes on Facebook were focused on US politics. With more than 51% of people in the UK accessing the news via social media this has opened a door for how fake news is easily accessed and is becoming nearly impossible to stop.

THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF FAKE STORIES REGARDING POLITICIANS THAT MANAGED TO REACH THE PUBLIC:

  • Obama banning reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in schools
  • Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump for President
  • Donald Trump offering free one-way tickets to Africa and Mexico to those who want to leave America
  • Donald Trump was reported to have called his own Republican voters “the dumbest group of voters in the country”
  • Wikileaks ‘confirmed’ Hilary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS

THERE ARE WAYS TO SEPARATE FACT FROM FICTION

Here are a few methods you can adopt to safeguard yourself against spreading fake news:
1. Double check the information you have read – can you find the story on any other news channel?
2. Where has the information come from? Does the story you read back their information up with sources?
3. Who said what? Check if there are direct quotes from the subjects of the article
4. Also, don’t just share a news article based on the headline alone – read the full article to check it’s content before potentially sharing something fake yourself.

With many people worried about the rise of fake news, Google and Facebook have promised to crack down on misinformation, and ensure that information is fat checked before it is released to the public.

Whether or not they’ll be successful is another matter entirely.

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