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The Fake News, why they spread and how to recognize them

The Fake News, Why They Spread And How To Recognize Them

The Fake news phenomenon is born because Internet and the social media has become the first source if information for people

The Fake news phenomenon is born because ever more people worlwide read newspapers and news online. Today they don’t have to wait too long to discover news about their favourite topics. And there sure that will find something on them. So, Internet has become the first source of information, tanks to its characteristics, immediacy and universality. “Gone are the days of trusting that a reporter, writer, and editor had checked the facts, presenting you with news you could trust. – Anna Kucirkova of Connex Digital Marketing wrote in an article -. Links on social media and other sites may look and sound trustworthy, legitimate, and believable, but are they? Fake news is everywhere. But where does it come from? How does it work? And is it really fake? Let’s take a deep dive into the world of fake news so you can learn to identify it when you see it.

What is a fake news

“Fake news is simply stories, reports, or posts that are purposely created by people desiring to misinform and mislead readers. Their goal is often to promote a political agenda, create confusion about an issue, and even to turn a profit for an online business. – she Kurcikova explained – Fake news reports are often highly deceptive, deliberately created to look like a legitimate news source and web address so that gullible readers will be duped. Not to be confused with the urban legends we grew up with, or even biased reporting, fake news is designed to mislead and deceive. It’s so easy to do, and we fall for it hook, line and sinker. Because we no longer rely on those trusted news sources but instead look to the internet, we can easily fall prey to fake news, even compounding the problem by spreading it ourselves!”

The different kinds of taxes on the Internet and social media. From Propaganda to Clickbait

There are several different kinds of fake news on the internet and social media. Readers should beware of all of them. They include “Propaganda” – News stories designed to disparage a candidate, promote a political cause, and mislead voters. “Sloppy Journalism” – Stories containing inaccurate information produced by writers and editors who have not properly vetted a story. Retractions do little to fix the problem, even if there is one, since the story has spread and the damage done. “Sensationalized Headlines” – Often a story may be accurate but comes with a misleading or outrageous headline. Readers may not read past it, but take everything they need to know from this skewed title. “Clickbait” – These stories are deliberately created to create traffic on a website. Advertising dollars are at stake, and gullible readers fall for it by the millions.

From Satire to the Average Joe Reporting

Furthermore there are fake news related to “Satire” – Parody websites like The Onion and The Daily Mash produce satirical stories that are believed by uninformed readers. The stories are written as satire and not meant to be taken literally, but not everyone knows that. “Average Joe Reporting” – Sometimes a person will post an eyewitness report that goes viral, but it may or may not be true. The classic example of this was a tweet by Eric Tucker in Austin, Texas in 2015. Posting a picture of a row of charter busses, Tucker surmised and tweeted that Trump protesters were being bussed in to rally against the President-elect. The tweet was picked up by multiple media outlets, and Mr. Trump himself, going viral in a matter of hours. The only problem is, it wasn’t true. It’s so easy to be fooled by these types of fake news stories. Even legitimate news agencies can be duped.

The “American Idiot” song example

“Just recently, The Washington Post ran a story referring to the Green Day song ‘American Idiot’ claiming it was written about President George W. Bush; the song is really about the American people being duped by the media.’ Kucirkova remembers – The only problem is they were citing a website called clickhole.com, a satirical website. The story was fake, designed to go viral and increase revenue. The Post was forced to make an embarrassing retraction, and wipe the egg from its face. You see this done countless times in the days of President Trump. CNN has especially been hit hard by the term ‘fake news’”.

Spread the fake news is fast and easy. You click and read, then click and share

News stories abound on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. A headline catches your  eye, you click and read, then click and share. It’s that fast and that easy. What if what we’re unknowingly reading and sharing is fake news? If it seems like fake news is shared more readily than legitimate stories, it’s because it’s true. While we’d like to think that it’s Russian operatives, corrupt politicians, or even digital robots spreading fake news stories, a recent, groundbreaking study by MIT proved that the culprit is actually us. The eye-opening study looked at every contested news story shared on Twitter over its ten year existence and concluded that truthful, accurate stories can’t compete with fake news.

False stories spread faster, traveled further, and lasted longer every time. People simply shared fake news more than real news, 70% more

False stories spread faster, traveled further, and lasted longer every time. People simply shared fake news more than real news, 70% more, spreading it like wildfire across the internet.Why is this happening? Not surprisingly, fake news stories are more novel, interesting, and provocative than real news. They evoke emotion, and often uphold our biases and beliefs, making us more inclined to share them. Another problem with fake news is that the more we are exposed to it, the more likely we are to believe it. The “illusory truth effect” is at play, a well studied psychological phenomenon that has proven for decades that the more we hear something, the more we believe it, whether it’s true or not. A recent study proved that readers exposed to a fake news story multiple times believed it over time. It seems we are growing immune to it the more we are exposed to it.

How to spot fake news for Anna Kurcikova

How to spot fake news, knowing that they’re to in the web and social media? Here are some suggestions from Anna Kucirkova: Read beyond the headline – A shocking, provocative headline might be just that. Read the entire article before believing and sharing it. Know the source – Be sure the website you are on is an actual, legitimate news source. Many fake news sites are designed to look like real ones, even having a url just a letter or two different from its legitimate counterpart. Check the date – Some articles may have been accurate when they were written, but after floating around on the internet for months or years are now outdated and inaccurate. Question the intent – As you read an article, beware of hidden agendas. Is the article designed to sell you something, get you to believe something, or even be shocked or amused? If so, it’s probably fake news.

Check your own biases and do your own fact checking

Furthermore for the cyber expert, you have to Check your own biases – So often we are inclined to take something as fact when it confirms our preexisting beliefs. Do your own fact checking. We could once trust journalists to do this for us, but in the age of fake news we have to be willing to do it ourselves. If something seems unbelievable, it might just be. Use a fact checking site like FactCheck.org to investigate the validity of a story, especially before you share it. Try sticking to non-partisan resources if possible; again tough to know these days.

The complete article of Anna Kucirkova

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