Fake News in Modern World
Fake news is shown throughout the world without people knowing. It affects our learning, our understandings, and beliefs. What is there to trust anymore? The web gives us a lot of info we use daily. Fake news has been a serious issue in American and international society lately. For instance, recently on July 2018, Facebook has shut down a sophisticated disinformation operation on its platform that engaged in divisive messaging ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.
Facebook said it founded 32 pages that was created between the year 2017 of March until 2018 of May, which brought 290,000 people with ads, events and regular posts on topics such as fascism, feminism and race. Especially sought to stir opposition to President Trump. One of the most popular pages had links to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Kremlin-backed organization of Russian operatives that flooded Facebook with disinformation around the 2016 election, Facebook said.
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But fake news isn’t only occurring on Facebook. There are many platforms getting involved with fake news. Whether it may be for entertainment or just to mess with people looking for information. Fake News can be both good and bad. For example, in class, we watched “The Daily Show” on one of the most used websites online called YouTube. “The Daily Show” consist of “Trevor Noah and The World’s Fakest News Team that tackles the biggest stories in news, politics and pop culture.” (cc.com 2018). The official website says that it’s “fake news” but this news program brings fake news with a different perspective.
It is factual news that is made to be funny. On the other hand, there are news programs that aren’t factual. It’s a made-up story to gain attention. For example, on Facebook there is a video viewed by 14 million people of a plane, struggling in a huge storm, does a 360-degree flip before safely landing and letting out terrified passengers. This computer-generated video, created by artist Aristomenis Tsirbas, found its way into a Facebook video viewed nearly 14 million times that falsely claimed to show a real plane landing. (MeniThings Productions 2015).
Giving these findings, a more recent line of inquiry looks at how the fake news dilemma may be solved (Bakir 2017). For example, recent risk management initiatives have involved the announcement of controversial “fake news” laws (Bremmer 2018). Other proposed solutions range from making digital media literacy a primary pillar of education (Select Committee of Communication 2017), to preventing false information from going viral in the first place or counteracting it in real time. There is a lot of suggestions of how to stop fake news but there’s also a lot of people who like writing fake news.
It almost seems like an endless journey. Fake News is one of the hardest thing to stop. Gianni Riotta, a columnist at La Stampa, Italian daily, summarized that people who tend to share fake news don’t have college degree; tend to not live in cities but countryside; and doesn’t buy books. These numbers are really high because according to studies, only 6.7% of the world’s population holds a college degree (Lancaster). It’s scary how little people have a college degree but that’s how the world is today. Fake news will keep growing and people will fall for it.
More than half of Americans report that fake news has left them feeling confused about basic facts (Barthel, Mitchell, & Holcomb, 2016), and a study carried out by YouGov, found that while many people believe they can tell the difference between true and fake news, only less than 5% of those who were surveyed could differentiate the two. Similarly, a survey conducted by Ipsos MORI found that 75% of Americans who were familiar with a fake news headline thought the story was accurate (Silverman & Singer-Vine, 2016). It’s almost daunting to read something that isn’t factual. With these studies, it’s possible to say that every person has been involved with fake news.
Fake news can come in so many forms. One of the forms that people may not see as “fake news” are conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories can involve mythical creatures like aliens but, it can also involve serious matters like the attack of 9/11. Conspiracy theories on the attack of 9/11 are so vivid people start to believe it. Examples like, “Nano-thermite and military-grade explosives were found in dust from the towers.
Tons of melted steel were found in tower debris.” (Thomas 2011). Reading this is believable, especially after being able to see the outcome of the attack. All of it are just theories and is fake news. Maybe this was true, and the real news is fake. It is nearly impossible to read and believe everything.
Other than Facebook, there’s also another social platform that has many fake news on it. Another top used social platform, Twitter’s “fake news” spreads faster, farther than truth, according to Ann Reynolds. Beginning in September of 2006, when Twitter began, and spanning through 2017, Professors Deb Roy and Sinan Aral of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working with Soroush Vosoughi at MIT’s Media Lab, evaluated roughly 126,000 stories that were tweeted by 3 million people, more than 4.5 million times were false stories. 4.5 million times! Those are only retweets. Who knows how many people have seen it. Maybe multiply the number by 10 and that was how much it was seen.
Fake news has been getting a lot of attention since the 2016 election. It has existed for as long as news has been around, but it became a witch hunt for fake news after the election. (Delane 2018). Truthiness is the belief in what you feel to be true rather than what the facts will support. It is this feeling of truthiness that has taken over the fake news.