The Epidemic of Fake News

Scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feeds, you’ll probably find intriguing headlines like the once top news “Pope Francis endorses Trump” or “Hillary Clinton is the leader of a pedophile organization”, they’re outrageous and immediately cause an impact on people provoking several opinions among those that didn’t click and read the whole article or didn’t even check the source.

This problem on social media regarding fake news is getting bigger every day, a lot of people don’t even care about clicking on the article and reading it thoughtfully less they care about fact checking the information they just read which causes a huge problematic of spreading false information that people believe in.

As Hillary Clinton declared in December, “The epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year — it’s now clear the so-called fake news can have real-world consequences.” Clinton herself was a victim of a top fake news story, millions read a false story “Pizzagate” claiming Hillary and her inner circle operated a pedophilia ring in a Washington pizzeria, the scandal lead to a man shooting inside the pizzeria wanting to “save the children trapped there”.

This case of misinformation could have led to fatality, but it’s a problematic the media outlets can’t do much, the reason for that is basic. These “fake news” pages are created in a way that look “legit” but are only made to manipulate the population and make money out of the shares and interactions caused by people’s reliability. The solution is in the hands of those people who are constantly sharing and commenting on news without reading, without actually informing themselves.

According to an analysis made by Buzzfeed, in the final three months of the US presidential campaign, the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC News, and others.

President Obama himself addressed the subject in an interview with The New Yorker,  the new media ecosystem “Means everything is true and nothing is true, An explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll. And the capacity to disseminate misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, to paint the opposition in wildly negative light without any rebuttal—that has accelerated in ways that much more sharply polarize the electorate and make it very difficult to have a common conversation.”

In order to change the numbers of people actually supporting and keeping fake news moving through social media, it’s important to be aware and educate others. If you are too lazy to check the whole article at least check the source before sharing and ranting about how outrageous is the news of Pope Francis supporting Trump, the same amount of time people waste commenting and building opinions on fake news could be used in something more useful like perhaps reading actual news from a reliable outlet.

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