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Clash of the news : Fake vs Real

Fake news has risen to prominence. With thousands of content pieces going live every second, fake news can be spotted by unfortunate us on every electronic device, every day. A genuine piece of news should be a patron for broadcast, but now, news comes with a flavor enhancer thus, making it difficult to differentiate between fake and original.

Do you still hold onto the delusion of reading or viewing an original content piece?

Then, let me present to you the percentage of fake news in one country, The United States of America, which I am sure will disturb you.

Distribution of fake news in US
Distribution of fake news in US
Source : https://www.statista.com/statistics/672275/fake-news-traffic-source/

If a single country can produce such high percentage of fabricated news, have you ever thought about the percentage of fake news which goes around the entire world? Think. Imagine.

In fact, there is a high possibility that even you might have read fake news and reacted accordingly without even knowing that the situation is fictitious and forged!

This article is going to make you feel obnoxious of the inadequate situation that you are in, but will also help raise some awareness against the spread of fake news which might be at your doorstep without acknowledgement.

Examples of fake news repercussion

As we talk, the effect of fake news is not only present in United States, but also in France, Italy and Germany. One of the exclusive aftereffects of fake news was the election of Donald Trump. There were evidences of fake news stories getting significant traction on social media thus outperforming the actual stories.

Two professors, Michelle Amazeen, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations and Lei Guo, Assistant Professor of emerging studies corresponding with Chris J. Vargo, University of Colorado, Boulder College of Media have analyzed years of fake data and come up with surprising findings. You can learn more from here.

A survey clearly states that 79% of millennials and 72% of Gen Xers believe that fake news has damaged the reputation of the media and news industry. Thus, media outlets have to research and fact check before publishing.

The percentages of fake news as per Americans
The percentages of fake news as per Americans
Source : https://www.agilitypr.com/pr-news/public-relations/fake-news-drastic-impact-media-credibility/

If not Accredited Journalists, where does fake news come from?

57% of respondents credited social media platforms as the biggest source of fake news, while another 51% accused social networks for proliferating fake news.

In India, the I&B Ministry failed to understand that fake news aren’t spread by the journalists as much as WhatsApp and Facebook posts.

Fake news mostly starts from a Photoshop artist, a politician who makes speeches without fact checking or intermingling public relations groups and market strategies who do not apply damage control steps.

Have a look at the top 5 fake news articles in the world, 2016.

The top fake news articles of 2016
The top fake news articles of 2016
Source : https://www.statista.com/chart/6795/fake-news-is-a-real-problem/

Fake news can never be found in a single format. It exists in numbers - graphs, polls, decimal points, statistics and correlation. They are very interesting to read but hard to collect.

Sanne Baluw, a Journalist for The Correspondent, explains the rise of fake news and the blurred after-effects in her TEDx Talk.

Also, see Chirdeep Sheety, CEO of Quintype and the panel speaking about the virality of fake news and how this can be eradicated at the MediaRumble event 2018.

Let’s begin to fight against fake news - The How’s

The major task before policymakers is to draw legislation to clamp down the execution of fake news. In fact, the online social networks like Facebook and Twitter have started blocking fake news on their websites. And now as a consumer, we must also begin to eradicate the intake of fake news.

  • Use tools like PolitEcho which analyzes your news feed to create a chart of your friends who are politically affiliated and also gives us information on how often they appear in the news feed. The results reveal how politically homogeneous acquaintances make the most of what we see on social media. Read more.
  • Get out of the filter bubble, where the choice of our friends are noted. We only get to see information which are affirmed in our world view. There are lot many tools which can help us get out of the filter bubble. Read more.
  • Flag fake news - Half of the fake stories aren’t even read before they are posted. All it has is a captivating photo and headline.
Google and Facebook recently added new features: Google started incorporating a fact-check tag into some of its news pages, however, it repeatedly promoted fake news to its “Trending” sidebar. Thus, Facebook announced that the sidebar will no longer be personalized. It will show the same stories to everyone based largely on what news outlets are reporting on, rather than what users are posting about.
  • Use tools to find fake news - There are many fact checking tools which you must install as your Chrome plugin. Also fact check the story from sites like PolitiFact, Factcheck.org, Snopes, etc.
  • Check the URL genuinity - Always examine every article by checking its URL, like is it ABCnews.com or ABCnews.com.co? The second URL looks official but is a fake website.
  • Defeat trolls - Trolls are internet users who deliberately provoke others with offensive posts and comments. Support the victims in cases like these and stop feeding the trolls. Use filters and tools which will help to not post hurtful comments. Read more.
Spotting fake news - The How’s
Spotting fake news - The How’s
Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fake_news#/media/File:How_to_Spot_Fake_News.jpg

So what does the world has to eradicate this crunch?

During elections, our social news feeds are majorly disguised by fake news which are not mandatorily created by the supporters, instead, the news is spread by people who are looking to make some quick money. So a stronger legislation has been planned to eliminate the financial incentives that make fake news profitable.

Google and Facebook planned to make changes to their algorithms to restrict advertisements on fake news websites and stories.

In some countries, lawmakers are even imposing serious punishments for spreading fake news. For instance, in Germany, lawmakers are proposing criminalising people who post fake news.

Who’s to blame for the fake news production
Who’s to blame for the fake news production
Source : https://www.statista.com/chart/7305/public-opinion-on-fake-news/

Start being wise, overlook, otherwise inspect for the real

As a consumer, getting to know the authenticity of a news article at the first glance is not possible. However, try researching for a plausible stance during a stormy or baffled situation. The intensity with which the fake news spreads is hard to control in a day, but to take necessary measures before killing or hurting somebody’s life or sentiments, is the minimum that we can do.