Fake News: Where can we find the truth?

By Natasha Cameron

In today’s digital culture, news articles are easily compromised, with the public and press struggling to help differentiate between facts and fictional stories.

Fake News is known as ‘News’ stories that are mostly or completely fabricated, which have become more common from a rise of social media.

From the rise of social media came an outburst of this misleading and sometimes evil trend.

Buzzfeed, a well-known modern news outlet, have produced a lot of data sets behind their story’s public, including data  regarding media outlets who are commonly posting completely fabricated news stories, as well as the engagement that they are receiving. The engagement that they document comes from Facebook content that is monitored by BuzzSumo.

BuzzSumo is a free-to-use site that helps users gain insight into media posts and to help them perform highly online and gain traction.

World News Daily Report, Your News Wire and Huzlers are among the many ‘News’ sources that have regularly come up in the 2018 data gathering of Fake News sites that BuzzSumo has detected.

The engagement that is recorded is a rounded-up figure of how many Facebook likes the individual posts have received, with numbers in the hundreds of thousands and above.

These figures show one aspect of how much engagement these articles receive and therefore beg the question of how dangerous these articles could be.

Due to the nature of some of these articles it can be hard to distinguish what is fact from fiction, and whether the information regarding the targeted event, company or people is true.

Political aspects seem to be the most targeted with many articles cited from the year 2018 being political in nature, these stories can go on to affect political elections and wider political systems by having an influence on the public.

Although some Fake News outlets like, World News Daily Report, where the tagline is ‘Where Facts Don’t Matter’ are clearly in genuine, some are harder to spot and are therefore more violent in nature, particularly when it comes to social issues and politics.

Some examples of these include ‘North Korea Opens Its Doors to Christianity’ and ‘Muslim Figure: We must have pork-free menus, or we will leave the US’.

Both articles have religious aspects that could easily be viewed negatively with the second example being deliberately provocative and being used to draw hatred towards a community.  To what extent people will believe these ‘clickbait’ titles is subjective and hard to determine, however they could be socially dangerous and damaging to the people that are targeted, if they are to be believed.

American Muslims are among those targeted by ‘Fake News.’-Source: PIxabay.com

In this modern age it is more important than ever to use the internet responsibly, especially with more and more established corporations making their own way online.

Social media and the wider internet has had many advantages for the media but now the media, especially news companies find themselves rivalling Fake News corporations to get the truth out.

Improper use of these sites can always lead to the fake word getting out and the real word being left behind. News organisations must fight to get the truth out and bring the battle of Fake News to an end.

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