- Dubious: A morally questionable thing
- Satire - The use of humor or exaggeration to criticize people’s stupidity or viewpoints.
- Bias - Prejudice in favor or against something.
- Fact-check: To investigate something to verify if it’s factual.
- Inflammatory: Something that is intended to create angry or violent feelings.
- Implausible: Something that is not reasonable or probable
How is fake news spread?
Fake news spreads easily with an eye-catching headline and it keeps being made because it makes a lot of money. The articles are usually far fetched, but not too far fetched so people still click on it to confirm it isn’t real. Every click gets the owner a lot of money in ad revenue. According to New York Times, the fake website “ChristianTimesNewspaper.com” was generating over $1000 an hour in ad revenue after it released an implausibly fake article about fraudulent Clinton votes. This means there is more fake news being pushed out because it is proven to make money. Also a story that many people spread was a conspiracy theory about a Pizza place that led to a man shooting at the place with an assault rifle. These stories are both eye catching and somewhat believable, until you look into the source. But many people still fell for it and it ended badly.
Why do people fall for it so easily?
Fake news is designed to catch people’s attention by reading the headline and seeing an interesting picture supposedly about the event. According to Huffington Post fake news is not very influential, a survey found that only 8% of people actually believe the fake articles being spread. But that is still too high of a number, 8% of people is actually still a large number of people. According to Wired.com “For the lay person who reads about these topics 10 minutes a week, I don’t think there is an easy way to see who’s full of it”. This is a good example of who these 8% of people that believe fake news are. Some people do not check news very often, they only check it every now and then and they don’t have a clear idea of what is fake and what is not. These people are the ones who tell their friends the fake news and that causes it to spread. We need to make the reliable news sources more obvious for these people so fake news won’t spread as much. If people can tell the difference easier by themselves, the problem will be less serious.
How can people tell the difference between real and fake news?
Conspiracy theories about Comet pizza caused a lot of problems for the restaurant
People seem to fall for fake news very often, but this can be prevented. If people have knowledge of which sources are reliable or they do some research before they share it would stop the spread of fake news. According to the Huffington Post “People are often drawn to stories that reinforce their opinion”. This is very true because if you look at the most popular fake news stories being spread they usually have are related to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton doing something bad. According to Washington Post a fake news story about a child pornagraphy ring run by Hillary Clinton in a restaurant’s basement spread so much and got so big that a man ended up shooting at the restaurant to “save the children”. This story is very ridiculous but you can tell it was spread by people really trying to make Hillary Clinton look bad. The people spreading the story and making it worse were very biased, so that is why when you read a story you should make sure it isn’t just being spread because of bias. It may strongly support your beliefs but that does not make the story true. Maybe it would be easier to tell if our top websites would do a better job at it themselves.
What is being done to stop the spread of fake news?
Since fake news was brought to the forefront after the election, websites such as Google and Facebook have began to take action against the spread of fake news. Facebook was pressured the hardest into taking action, as Facebook was where fake news got spread around the most. Facebook has since changed its way of fact checking and blocking fake news. According to New York Times “ Facebook is making it easier to flag content that may be fake. Users can report a post they dislike in their feed”. This tells us that Facebook is working to fix its problem with fake news, and that it acknowledges all the fake news in the feed is a problem. Facebook is not alone in changing its news policies, according to Forbes, Google took down over 1.7 billion ads in 2016 that were misleading or violated its ad policy. This shows how google, the world’s number one search engine, also acknowledges that fake news is a big threat and is cracking down on it. If these two huge websites keep up their work fighting fake news then we should see the problem greatly decrease over the next few years. But it has already possibly done a good deal of damage.
How has fake news impacted the world?
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the subject of a lot of fake news
Fake news has been around for a very long time, either as satire like The Onion or eye catching tabloids, but only in this recent presidential election has fake news become more prominent and better at tricking people. Sites like Facebook where people can share articles with friends caused lots of misleading or totally fake articles to be spread around, with many people falling for the ridiculous headlines. According to an article by PBS about fake news, experts say it would be nearly impossible to tell if fake news influenced the election one way or another. This means we cannot know for sure whether or not fake news impacted the presidential election, but fake news has been around for a long time and people have fallen for it over and over again. According to the New York Times a man named Eric Tucker tweeted about protesters being bussed into Austin, which was entirely untrue, he saw the busses and assumed that was the case. The tweet was shared over 16,000 times on Twitter and over 350,000 times on Facebook. To be shared that much people had to have believed the eye catching tweet. And with that many people sharing a tweet without fact checking it first, we can assume fake news affected the thoughts of those of those people, and may have influenced their vote.
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Almendrala, Anna. "Science Pinpoints Why People Fall For Fake News -- And What We Can Do About It." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 26 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Ellis, Emma Grey. "Fake Think Tanks Fuel Fake News-And the President’s Tweets." Wired. Conde Nast, 24 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Robins-Early, Nick. "How To Recognize A Fake News Story." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 27 Nov. 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Fisher, Marc, John Woodrow Cox, and Peter Hermann. "Pizzagate: From rumor, to hashtag, to gunfire in D.C." The Washington Post. WP Company, 06 Dec. 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Isaac, Mike. "Facebook Mounts Effort to Limit Tide of Fake News." The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Dec. 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Warner, Charles. "Google Increases Regulation Of False Ads And Fake News." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.