Misc

Fake News

Fake News
What is fake news?
In today’s political climate, fake news is seen as one of the most dangerous threats to democracy. This term was also voted 2017’s Word of the Year. It is also known as pseudo-news or junk news. It has been described as a kind of yellow journalism where deliberately misinformed versions of events and hoaxes are spread through newspapers, magazines and other means of print media as well as online. Fake news is a means of propaganda which is used to mislead people and push agendas. It is a serious limitation to the independence of the media and free speech. The incidence of fake news has been seen in every part of the world.

What are the different types of fake news?
The nuisance of fake news is not limited to the world of politics alone. It can be seen in every kind of news platform, starting from beauty or fitness to educational sites. Stories and headlines are deliberately distorted and sensational captions and pictures are used to gain the attention of the viewer. Trending topics are usually used to attract more viewers.

•Clickbait is a method where news is deliberately fabricated to attract more viewers and increase advertising and viewing revenues for that particular website. This type of fake news is usually seen in beauty, fitness, fashion and healthcare websites. Viewers are often lured by captions mentioning “magic formula to lose weight”, “Hollywood secrets to clear skin”, “magic herb to cure cancer”, and so on.

•Many websites publish fake news for the sake of satire and comic release, aimed at entertaining the viewers. April Fool’s news comes under this category.

•Sometimes journalists report false news or news that is not totally correct or confirmed. This type of fake news is seen particularly during the time of elections in countries when news is the only source of information on the elections and misleading information such as malfunctioning EVMs and fake instances of electoral violence can cause serious chaos.

•Biased news is another way of delivering fake news. In this case, one particular extremist view on any event is highlighted and misleading information regarding the same is published. The target audience for such news is usually a group of people who subscribe to such views, who are likely to be swayed by such news.

•Using misleading and sensual headings for articles is another way to attract more readers to a particular site. This type of fake news can spread quickly through platforms like WhatsApp.

How can we spot fake news?
The internet is a free platform for anyone to post anything that they want. Publishers of fake news aim at gathering more social traffic and earning more revenue per view. Fake news usually revolves around important and sensitive subjects hence it is very easy to be swayed by incorrect information. As such, developing critical thinking can be the only foolproof method of spotting fake news. Here are some other ways to spot fake news:

•Checking with other sources: Cross-checking information provided by one platform with others is always a good way of confirming the said information. If it is true, it is likely that all platforms will publish the same.

•Looking beyond the headline: most of the time, people do not open the link containing a sensational headline, believing the headline to be true. Opening such links to determine the validity of the headline can confirm the truth of the news.

•Using reliable platforms: using platforms that are known to be reliable is always recommended.

•Using fact-checking sites: Snopes, Fact Check, BBC Reality Check are some well-known fact-checking sites that point out which parts of an article are false.

Fake news has the power to sway people on important matters relating to politics, social issues, and economic concerns. It is designed to attract the attention of viewers. At the surface level, it can be seen as relatively harmless and satirical but it may have far-reaching effects, therefore it is extremely important to develop a rational thinking capacity.


Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/education-39272841



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