I was the kind of person who was easily tricked by my classmates when I was in high school. There were time they said “ There is a test today,” and I said “Oh, really?” I felt cheated as I found out they lied to me. Since then, I have become more suspicious towards things and people. It is a bit pitiful to distrust people but it is a lesson to learn to be critical and not to trust everything out there.
While my friends tricked me for fun, fake news tricked us by confusing the readers and intends to shift the the public opinion in an influential way. In a Ted talk
, veteran journalist Ali Velshi discerned fake news with sponsored content, satire and editorial mistake. To him, fake news is made with an intention to look like a “real” and factual news with credibility.
A piece of fake news could sparked controversy, damages the credibility of a person which are the ugly goals behind the producers. During the US election, there was a news claiming Hillary Clinton involved in sex trafficking basement of a pizza restaurant. The news went viral and before it was identified as fake news and the pizza restaurant didn’t even have a basement. Edgar Maddison Welch
, a 28-year-old man, because of the conspiracy theory, fired the restaurant to seek the truth. In the end, he found no eviedence of human trafficking for the store. The impact of this fake news is tremendous in a sense that it stirred up people’s emotion and drove people insanely firing a restaurant. Irrespective of of the intention of the producer of fake news, the article triggered a crisis to Clinton, brought harassment towards the restaurants owner which are undesirable. Fake news brings people’s integrity into a question and provokes unnecessary dependence for one’s integrity.
It would be too ideal to say I can trust in everyone around me. Likewise, it is too ideal to believe in the articles what appears on Facebook, Buzzfeed and Reddict. We should bear in mind that these webpages are user-generated social media that allows individuals spreading fake news easily with a low cost. All you need is an eye-catching subject or an controversial issue to play with. The “retweet”, “share”, “follow” and “like” buttons allow audience to react to a certain news easily. This often generates a responsive on different social media.This creates an echoes chamber for the audience to believe in the news since being shared and forwarded overwhelming.
The consequences brought by the emergence of fake news do more harm than good to the society. Audiences are misled by the “facts” and change their perceptions because so. We should pay attention to the impact of social media in generating discourses and shaping audiences’ opinion and understanding of the world. As a blogger writing this piece to you, I am reminded of the significance of channelling credible sources with you since fake content can damage the credibility of the me.
The spread of fake content also damages the credibility of the media. A hoax that George Michael has not died came out
after the reportage of his death by CNN, the New York Times and other media. The fake news confused people by making the to question about the traditional media in doing so. That means readers have to take up more effort in checking whether the information is reliable.
The good thing about the emergence of fake news is it encouraged readers to be critical about what they are reading. Instead of passively receiving the information from print and digital media. readers are required to actively surfing for multiple resources find out the “truth”. In the meantime, they are exposed to different media platforms, newspapers and TV programmes which each of them stands in a certain political spectrum, investigating the incident from different perspectives. This could be a chance for readers to reflect on their way of consuming information and see their role in being a fact checker for themselves. With fake news, it is a time for confusion, but it is a time for the emergence of clear-minded readers who have an critical eyes on what they are reading.
Meanwhile, individuals are trying to reclaim facts and journalism by themselves. Philip DeFranco, whose youtube channel earns as much as many as 1.5 million views, providing his aggregation of reportage on issues and an open-atmosphere for everyone to engage in the heated issue. In his video
, he announces that he is launching Defranco Elite, a fan-funding initiative through Patreon and vowed to make the next great news networks that is independent of corporate interest. “A network that is run under my vision of it is okay to have and share opinions but let’s get the facts right first,” he said. He claimed that he is not hiding any existing content behind a pay wall and his success proves that individual can counter fake news with an endeavour to seek for the truth.
As an blogger, I see the importance of building my site with credibility. The public is looking for reliable information on certain issue and opinion with fair judgement. The yearn for authenticity is growing amid the booming of fake news. As a reader and a writer, the responisbility to dive in the issue is undeniable.
Velshi, Ali. (2017).How Fake News Grows in a Post-Fact World How Fake News Grows in a Post-Fact World. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkAUqQZCyrM
How to fake George Michael’s death, and other tabloid lies. Boing Boing URL: https://boingboing.net/2017/01/04/how-to-fake-george-michaels.html
Hsu, Spencer S. (2017) ‘Pizzagate’ gunman says he was foolish, reckless, mistaken — and sorry. The Washington Post. URL:https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/spencer-s-hsu/?utm_term=.d11e93f35128
DeFranco, Philip. It’s Time For you To Know…(2017) URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7frDFkW05k