Fake News Epidemic!


Fake news. If you are a social media user, or a regular news watcher, there is no doubt that you have heard the phrase ‘fake news’ tirelessly recently. Whether it be online debates or Donald Trump exclaiming the phrase in press releases or on twitter, the phrase is everywhere.

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 13.22.21

                                                           (@realDonaldTrump, twitter, 2018)


Why is there fake news?

There are various reasons for the spread of fake news. One of the main reasons is for financial gain. Traffic to a website can create financial gain for the website owners, whether the information is accurate or not is irrelevant. Many websites get ‘paid per click’ therefore the use of sensational, attention-grabbing headlines is appealing as people are likely to want to know more (Dice, 2017).

Another reason is to push an agenda – for example anti-islam. After the Manchester bombings in 2017 an image of a Muslim woman circled the internet claiming that an image captured of her walking by the incident was an showing her lack of remorse and disregard for the victims which quickly turned into a popular #BanIslam Hashtag, although the woman was not projecting these feelings in anyway (Rannard, 2017).


Filter bubbles – what are they?

Filter bubbles is a term for algorithms used on social media sites such as facebook. It is described as a ‘bubble’ because the website selects information to show us based on past online behaviours – meaning you can become isolated in a bubble of inaccurate information (FutureLearn, 2017).

This Ted Talk gives an in depth explanation of filter bubbles.

(Pariser, 2011)

What can we do to avoid fake news?! Have good media literacy!


                                                                                               (Created by me, 2018)

Information above from here.

To conclude, fake news is here and can be hard to avoid so it is important to keep your wits about you and do not add to the problem by sharing fake news – be media literate!

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Beware Online: Filter Bubbles. (2011). Directed by E. Pariser. Ted Talks.

Dice, M. (2017). The True Story of Fake News. Mark Dice.

Facebook.com. (n.d.). Tips to Spot False News | Facebook Help Centre | Facebook. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/help/188118808357379?qp_instance_log_data%5Brandomization_seed%5D=1492253759&qp_instance_log_data%5Bos_type%5D=Windows&qp_instance_log_data%5Bbrowser_name%5D=Chrome&qp_instance_log_data%5Bbrowser_ver%5D=56 [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].

FutureLearn. (2017). Media Literacy – Learning in the Network Age – University of Southampton. [online] Available at: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-network-age/4/steps/303353 [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].

Rannard, G. (2017). How fake news plagued 2017. [online] BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-42487425 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2018].



13 thoughts on “Fake News Epidemic!

  1. Hi Stephanie –

    Great blog! I really love your media literacy graphic, it’s clear, concise and sleek. I do want to ask a further point from the graphic, however, that is somewhat philosophical. You mention to not overlook tone when reading articles, but how important is prefacing satirical information in the modern age? Do you think that comedic political commentary should be clearly labelled so no-one is mistaken?
    I’m personally a massive supporter of SNL, The Onion and satire in general, but as tone is primarily lost in prose – I wondered what you thought.

    I thought your section on ‘Why is there Fake News’ was insightful and interesting. Which aspect do you think is more important and causes more Fake News – financial gain or agenda pushing? Or do you think that it depends significantly upon the individual pushing the news?



    1. Hi! Thank you for your comment and reading my blog! I definitely would say that there is no need to label when there is comical content or intent on a blog post, I just think that readers should take into consideration tone of writing when deciding between taking something as genuine news and fact. This is why people need media literacy, to correctly identify the purpose of different types or writing! Your second point, I would argue it is more often than not up to the individual. I doubt celebrity gossip sites have a big agenda to push and it is much more financial, opposed to news sites which may want to push an agenda rather than worry about financial gain! What do you think?



      1. I agree with you on both counts, especially for gossip and fan sites. In a lot of ways, comedy has become the best way and the most popular way for the average person to ingest and digest incredibly important information, especially the unfolding drama in the White House. Disclaiming it may well turn people off before any commentary can begin!


  2. Hi Stephanie

    Really enjoyed reading your post, and you focus on how “fake news is here”, almost as if it should just be accepted as a fact. Do you think that it neccessarily has to, or do you think we could build algorithms into websites which would be able to filter out the information which is unreliable? I think this could be aided by the huge developments in artificial intelligence, as talked about Here. I’m not sure myself, but would love to hear your thoughts!




    1. Hi,

      I don’t think we should necessarily accept that fake news is here and do nothing about it, but it is here and that is factual, wouldn’t you say? I definitely think that there could be steps put into place to ensure the information we have access too is reliable, however, I would be concerned that the same technology could be used to enhance fake news in some way! It is definitely an option, but not one without risk.



      1. Hi Stephanie,

        Thanks for your reply! Yes, the fact that it is here, is certainly factual. Your point about technology having been used to promulgate fake news, and this any tools to prevent fake news would likely be abused was great – and something I hadn’t previously considered.


        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Stephanie,

    I really liked your visuals and the use of Donald Trump’s tweet. I agree with the points you made re. agenda, and believe that the issue of fake news is actually a really important one to tackle. I came across this Buzzfeed article (2016), referenced below that showed how fake election news articles outperformed real news on Facebook. This heavily influenced voting, and I was wondering if you think anything could or should be done by social media sites in order to filter out such information, or is it down to the individual?
    I was also wondering if you agreed with the interesting point that Bill Gates’ made on filter bubbles, that education is the counterbalance to them (Delaney, 2018)?


    Word Count: 124



    1. Hi!

      Thank you! I definitely think when it comes to certain topics that social media sites should take some responsibility for what information is given out. I don’t necessarily think it is always something that needs to be done and individuals need to learn skills to assess the validity of written work. However, when it comes to something so important as an election, I would agree more should be done as the impact can affect important world issues. In response to your second point, yes to an extent I would agree! I really believe media literacy and the ability to assess online sources can change the spread of fake news and I believe Bill Gates views aline with this!


  4. Hi Stephanie,

    I enjoyed reading your post. You titled your post ‘Fake News Epidemic’ so as to imply fake news is bad. I wonder whether you too have utilised the very same techniques the people you speak about, are using in order to drive engagement- ‘Clickbait’. Judging by your post, one could say your information is flawed because you haven’t considered the benefits of fake news. Take for example, the view that fake news has driven journalists to invest in fact-checking software to ensure the validity and credibility of the news they are publishing. Or alternatively the fact that Facebook now recognise their role as a powerful media organisation (McGregor, 2017). My question I pose is, now considering the benefits I pose and some you might find in your own research, is fake news still entirely bad?

    Moreover, I love your info-chart on media literacies for its simplicity. However you mentioned 5 do’s, do you believe those are sufficient for one to perform and then be titled ‘Media Literate’.

    Words: 168

    McGregor, J. (2017) Two Reasons Fake News Is Good For Society. FORBES. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaymcgregor/2017/02/07/why-fake-news-is-actually-good-for-the-world/#7143b8a93771 [Accessed 16 March 2018].


    1. Hi! Thank you!

      I would argue against your point here. If there was no fake news in the first place would we need such technology? Is prevention not better than cure? Also, i do not think we need the rise of fake news for Facebook to be recognised as a powerful media organisation. The amount of users and the amount of shares of genuine news is enough to suggest its power, surely. Also, I would not say it is ‘entirely’ bad. In some senses fake celebrity gossip is not harming anyone, it will not have lasting effects if teenagers hear about a fake split of their favourite celebrity couple for instance. However, fake political news can have real impact and this is not to be taken lightly.

      Your second point, I would disagree that the chart suggests in anyway that following the 5 do’s and don’ts give you a media literate title! They are merely suggestions of behaviours to adapt to improve your media literacy and give out tips for things to watch out for. There is also a link below to many more suggestions!

      Thank you,


      1. Frankly, can you remember a time when news was completely authentic?

        Tampered news has existed for decades, take the propaganda in WW2 used to influence the population towards support for the war effort (En.wikipedia.org, 2018). Fake news is a development of this news and it has been the push required to force the hand of media companies to improve fact-checking software.

        I agree concerning Fake News is not to be taken lightly.


        – En.wikipedia.org. (2018). British propaganda during World War II. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_propaganda_during_World_War_II [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].


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