Fake news presence is overwhelming in the media nowadays. The online ecosystem is especially favourable for the spread of fabricated news as everything is easily shareable.
HOW THE FAKE NEWS TREND STARTED
In fact, the spreading of fake news is not new, they have always existed due to our cognitive biases.
Internet and social media have simply amplified this phenomenon wildly.
As an illustrating example, Oxford Dictionaries declared post-truth its international world of the year 2016. It highlights a reality where we leave truth aside in favour or personal preferences/ prejudices.
SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON THE FACTS
Sadly, this bad trend is affecting the whole world in challenging ways, putting at risk both political stability and community peace in many cases.
Eventually, the consequences of fake news are very harmful:
- The spread of fabricated news affects political views and campaigns.
- False stories keep on circulating even when they have been debunked.
- A repeated rumour becomes increasingly powerful as it circulates.
- In the internet, facts blend with half-truths (and untruths) easily.
- False rumours tend to be resolved significantly later than true rumours.
- Anger and anxiety have a strong influence on our political perceptions.
TRUE VS FAKE
We can consider mainly three types of fake news: Serious fabrications, large-scale hoaxes and humorous fakes (like satirical news and parodies.)
More than ever, it’s essential to fact-check widely spread news and viral stories, see some useful tips below.
As for the political arena, things don’t look good either. The last events surrounding Brexit and the recently held elections both in the USA and Europe are clear proof of how fake news and hoaxes have infiltrated our daily lives.
In the same line of reasoning, the award-nominated journalist Jonathan Albright explained in a series of well researched articles how we have officially entered the #MPM (Micro-Propaganda-Machine) era.
More than ever we need independent legal systems to preserve the truth. It’s not surprising that some governments have taken the matter into their own hands.
Internet companies are definitely not immune to the spread of this new disease.
Later than sooner, social networks have started to deal with this huge problem:
- Facebook has recently closed a substantial amount of fake accounts used for spam purposes.
- Twitter has enforced new regulations and safety policies.
- YouTube has embarked on a new program with workshops aimed at teens.
Hopefully, it seems we are in the process of taking new measures for supporting critical thinking.
These are baby steps, but we must start somewhere (yes, I said we); only with real involvement we may see results in time.