Fake news or considered by many as "fabricated news" or "hoax". Unfortunately, it isn't all that simple.
A Senate inquiry into the proliferation of fake news or misleading information spearheaded by the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media invited journalists and pro-administrative bloggers to shed light regarding " fake news" and ways to stop it. As mainstream media is believed to be biased and a purveyor of "fake news", pro-administrative bloggers are said to provide an alternative source for news and information to the public, albeit laden with propaganda. Sadly, during the inquiry, as journalists and bloggers came face to face, the definition and scope of " fake news" were not given ample focus.
|Beware of fake news.|
Image credit: Pixabay
Fake news is an inaccurate sometimes sensationalist report that is manipulated to resemble credible journalism in the hopes of gaining attention or to mislead, deceive or damage a reputation. It is solely conceived to manipulate. In its purest form, it is 100% false and entirely made up. Aside from this, the definition of fake news has also expanded to include information that is distorted, decontextualized, or dubious. According to Margaret Rous of www.whatis.com, fake news can spread quickly when it provides disinformation (not to be confused with misinformation. Disinformation is a type of untrue communication that is purposely spread and represented as truth with the purpose to deceive. Misinformation is falsely presented as truth only because the reporter/communicator has confused facts.) that is aligned with the audience's point of view because such content is not likely to be questioned or discounted.
Although most fake news is created to gain maximum attention for revenue from digital advertising, some have an underlying political or social agenda and may use it to spread propaganda. This is a cause for concern as it shapes public opinion and behavior, and may be damaging to the society.
Furthermore, Claire Wadler of First Draft News enumerates 7 Types of Fake News:
1. Satire/parody- no intention to harm but has potential to fool.
2. False connection- when headlines, visuals, and captions don't support content.
3. Misleading content- misleading use of information to frame an issue or an individual.
4. False content- when genuine content is shared with false contextual information.
5. Imposter content- when genuine sources are impersonated with false, made up sources.
6. Manipulated content- when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive (eg. doctored photo)
7. Fabricated content- news content is completely false and is designed to deceive and do harm.
I have to stress that fake news is legal, just as long as there are no obscenities, invasion of privacy, or defamation and are protected under the freedom of speech law and fair use policy. Bloggers know this. I just hope they don't abuse the use of freedom of speech and still live within the terms of integrity.
As fake news becomes a problem, advancements determining the legitimacy of stories have been created. Soon a popular social media site which has gone under scrutiny because of its use in the dissemination of fake news will soon be flagging stories that are questionable. But due to its popularity and open door policy, it will be difficult for them to do. Well, it's a start.
As netizens, we should also practice sensible and responsible sharing. Before sharing, do a fact check. Check the host's domain for any suffixes. Check grammar and misspelled words. Check dates. Tell your friends nicely if they shared the fake news because friends don't let friends share the fake news. We, in our own little way, can help stop the spread of fake news. And remember, with great power comes greater responsibility. The Assistant Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office should well remember that.
|Do you agree?|
Image credit: Pixabay
*credit to www.whatis.com; www.theguardian.com; for more info please visit their websites.