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.
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.
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!
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].