The making up of new stories is not a new phenomena. Some of it can be entertaining and humorous like some of the articles you would see in the Waterford Whisperer or The Onion who have on a numerous occasion even tricked reputable news companies like when they posted an article saying Kim Jong Un was voted the sexiest man alive, which Chinese and South Korean news outlets embarrassingly reported as fact, other more serious stories some of which may used for propaganda may be presented in a way that people often have a hard time distinguishing if they are fact or fiction. With the increasing popularity of social media platforms like Facebook which some people use as their news source has helped facilitate the creation and spread of fake news. It’s likely that an increasing number of people are reading and believing not only inaccurate but totally made up stories. Is it so easy for someone to scan a headline they see on Facebook click share and help these sources of misinformation spread like wild-fire.
In this time of rampant misinformation, it is more and more important to check your sources of information. Whether or not it is for academic reasons or not the sheer amount of information accessible to us all online is staggering of which a vast amount of it is misleading or completely false. Obviously as a student you have to be careful where you gather your information as it can affect your grades. One problem with the internet is virtually anyone can post a story and article and they might be writing with an agenda in mind which can lead to bias and not very creditable work. Also for whatever reason whether it is to persuade people into their line of thinkins or financial gain some publications entire purpose is to mislead. Evaluating your scource of information is an important skill, when evaluating a source some of the aspects to keep in mind are: Who published the article? Maybe your reading something political so is there a purpose? Who is the author and what are their publications? Is the article fact or opinion?
In terms of academics it is very important to evaluate the quality and credibility of your source of information to maintain a good standard of your work but misinformation also has an effect outside universities. It can also have an effect in the political arena. Like during the run up of the recent US Presidential election when a fake news story broke about a pizzeria been a hub for an international child trafficking hub with ties to Hillary Clinton, whether this was a political ruse by her opposition to discredit her. The article led to an incident where a man went to investigate the pizzeria and letting of shots at the premise. Fake news not only dangerous to in it distorts the truth but also can lead to safety and security concerns. It also effect how people vote when they aren’t given correct information during elections it effects how they vote, so fake news is also bad news for democracy.
With social media been a main arena for such news to thrive, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has made plans to combat the issue with a number of steps these include stronger detection and third party verification. Certain a step in the right direction.