Fake News

Social media has become a news source for politics due to instant articles and convenience. The issue with relying on social media as a main source for news is that information can be relayed among users with no significant third party filtering, fact checking, or editorial judgement, and an individual user with no track record or reputation. Therefore, many articles are written from a biased perspective, or even displays false information. The information often seems like it is being written by a credible source, which is why people believe whatever they read. Fake news became a serious issue during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Many stories made Trump seem like a better candidate than Clinton, and it is believed that if fake news did not spread as much as it did, he might not have won the presidency.

This photo is an example of fake news. The article was published on WTOE 5 News, which is not a credible source. It has been noted that “most articles on wt0e5news.com are satire or pure fantasy.” It had been copied by a fake news publisher so people believed the information was credible. It went viral and everyone talked about it, which made Trump seem like a good fit for president, since Pope Francis believed so. However, Pope Francis confirmed that this was false and that both candidates were not a good fit.

Another example was when an article was published claiming that Denzel Washington changed who he was voting for in the 2016 presidential election. If this information were true, it puts a negative light on Clinton. It makes Clinton seem like an unfit presidential candidate because if Washington was willing to switch his opinion to vote for a man who is known to be a racist, than Clinton must be that bad. The article also mentions that Washington “spoke out against Obama”, which is also false. In fact, this caused Washington to speak out against fake news. He criticized journalists for focusing more on how fast they can publish articles rather than focus on the accuracy of the information.

Washington kept his composure and explained his opinion calmly and professionally in hopes of getting through to journalists.

A study calculated that fake news was produced often during the election, exactly, “41 pro-Clinton and 115 pro-Trump articles, which were shared a total of 7.6 million and 30.3 million times, respectively…about three times more fake pro-Trump articles than pro-Clinton articles, and the average pro-Trump article was shared more on Facebook than the average pro-Clinton article“. This information shows that the likelihood of people believing and being influenced by these articles is extremely high. It is impossible to say how many people voted for one candidate or another because of fake news, but it can be assumed that some were influenced in one way or another. We cannot say Trump won due to fake news articles, however I believe it helped his case.

This then questioned Facebook’s accuracy of information. Mark Zuckerberg spoke out about information shared through Facebook on two separate occasions.

Fake news needs to be stopped. At this day in age, and with the shock of Trump getting elected, fake news can lead to more detrimental actions. How do we stop it?



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