Two years ago, it was easy to pick what was news and what wasn’t news. Now times have changed and my how they’ve changed! Now we have “fake news” and who’s to know what’s fake and what’s real? It’s all a little too confusing. And how much “fake” in the news makes it really fake?
Stories on social media with a ring of truth gain so much traction among the 1.8 billion Facebook users that before you know it they have become gospel. Apparently during the recent US elections fake news stories got more engagement than articles from the New York Times and CNN.
You would think that it would be easy to tell fake news from the real thing but unfortunately, it’s not. Some of these fake news channels have such believable fronts and so called sources that it’s hard to differentiate, even though the story content should be a giveaway.
Fake news is completely made up and manipulated to look like credible stories from reputable sources and it is constructed in such a way to attract maximum attention and potential advertising
revenue. The sites that the articles appear on look like the real thing and social media is the perfect distribution channel. There’s no way of tracking down offenders and the audience is huge. I liken these channels to Microsoft tech site callers who frequently ring to advise me of a problem with my Windows software. They’re both a scam and they both have potential to harm.
I am not sure what the answer is to fake news other than using personal insight and intelligence to manage our way through a minefield. I will be keeping an eye on it though because it has the potential to be incredibly damaging – I wonder if we will see it raise its head in our election later this year.