Fake news and propaganda have been around for centuries but social media platforms have provided a new means of communication to spread lies in no time like a wildfire. Most people who want to spread fake news among the mass, are using different social media platforms as these are the major sources of communication. There are many fake news pages on Twitter and Facebook which are wide-spreading the misinformation that encourages the element of hate and many other social problems that damage the societies to a great extent.
The Real Problem With FAKE News
Fake news is published intentionally on social media to misinform or deceive readers. Lots of things that we usually read online especially in our feeds on the social media platforms may seem to be real and genuine but these news are often not.
Fake news and propaganda have been around for centuries but social media platforms have provided a new means to spread lies in no time like a wildfire
Most of these news are created to influence the views of people, push a political agenda or sow confusion among the mass. Sometimes online publishers also publish fake news to make their businesses more profitable. The trend of fake news is not new, but it got the most attention in 2017 by many agencies and then it became a hot topic.
Traditionally, credible sources, journalists, and media outlets were the major sources that published news who followed strict codes of practice. But now the internet has changed the tradition totally and it has introduced the new way to publish and share the information among the people with very little regulation or editorial standards. Now getting the news from social media sites and networks has become common, that’s why it is not easy to figure out whether stories are credible or not. Lack of understanding among the people that how the internet works also contributes to an increase in fake news or hoax stories.
Spreading fake news has now become a profitable business where publishers generate revenue by creating such type of stories that go viral within minutes. Because they are aware of the fact that the more the clicks a story gets, the more online money they can make. There are various types of fake news that can mislead anyone, and we need to be aware of it that how they can misguide us in various ways. The most prominent one is Clickbait that is intentionally designed to achieve more visitors to the website. The purpose of this type is also to increase advertising revenue for websites. These types of stories generally use sensational headlines to get the attention of the public and follow a hypertext link to the publisher’s website without taking care of any truth or accuracy. For example, usually, you will see the headings like “how the top ten rich people of the world got rich.”
Lots of things that we usually read online especially in our feeds on the social media platforms may seem to be real and genuine but these news are often not
The other type of fake news is Propaganda that misleads the audiences by promoting a biased point of view or a political agenda. Parody fake news is related to many websites and social media accounts that publish fake news stories for the purpose of entertainment and parody of various well-known personalities, such as The Onion, etc. Sloppy Journalism is a type of fake news where journalists usually publish a story without any authentication or checking all the information whether it is true or not. Whereas, in Misleading Headings, the news is not completely false but it takes help of misleading or sensational headlines to grab the attention of readers. These types of news have only headlines and small snippets of the full article displayed and spread quickly on social media and grab the attention of viewers easily.
Spreading fake news has now become a profitable business where publishers generate revenue by creating such type of stories that go viral within minutes
How to tackle fake news?
One should take a closer look whenever they read any story, especially on any sensitive issue. Readers should always check the source that if it is a credible/ reliable source? In case you are reading the story that is published on an unfamiliar site, then check the about section and try to find out detailed information about the author of the story. Otherwise, do a quick search for more coverage or original sourcing.
Whenever you see any sensational headline on any website, try reading the entire article carefully because many fake stories carry shocking headlines in order to grab the attention of viewers.
It has also been observed that most often the headings of fake stories are in all caps and they usually use the exclamation points. You can also cross-check the story on any reputable news/ media outlets if they are also reporting on the same topic? Always check the date when the article was published as fake news stories often contain incorrect dates. So it is very important to find out when and where it came from.
Google and Facebook have also taken some serious steps to stop the spreading of fake news on their platforms. Recently, they both have introduced new measures to tackle fake news by reporting and flagging tools. Facebook has introduced a new metric called Click-Gap, which Facebook’s News Feed algorithms will use to determine where to rank a given post. Click-Gap, which Facebook launched globally is the company’s attempt to limit the spread of websites that are disproportionately popular on Facebook compared with the rest.
Whereas Google has unveiled a tool that helps news organizations tag stories that debunk misinformation so that Google News can more easily feature it. Another new tool provides journalists with a database of all stories with that tag so that they can find those fact-checking stories. Other media organizations such as BBC and Channel 4 have developed the sites for fact-checking.
Google and Facebook have also taken some serious steps to stop the spreading of fake news on their platforms
The higher authorities of many countries have also realized that fake news is something that must be actively fought and now they have started working on setting up the services to stop the spreading of false stories. The higher authorities of many countries have also started considering the imposing regulations and punishing sites that publish misleading stories.
There is a dire need for critical thinking to highlight the vast amount of information available online and rise in fake news
Today, with the grave possibility of manipulation of our opinions and our decision making by fake news, we as a society are at serious risk of a hybrid war on our collective conscience. We have to develop tools to cope with it. There is a dire need for critical thinking to highlight the vast amount of information available online and rise
in fake news.
It is very important to combat the fake news by creating awareness among the people that they should understand the need to question the story they read because it is not only the responsibility of electric or social media to check the facts but it is the responsibility of the readers as well who read and share news.
It is not only the responsibility of electric or social media to check the facts but it is the responsibility of the readers as well who read and share news
Recommended Reading: Facebook to Share Information with FIA to Investigate Cyber Crime Cases