“Fake news” is a term that can mean different things, depending on the context.
Fake news is a big thing in the field of Social Media Journalism. Fake news can be as simple has spreading misinformation.or as dangerous as smearing hateful propaganda. – Fabrizio Moreira
If we are to function as a healthy representative democracy, our country needs to be able to count on everyday citizens to form logical deductions about issues, political wrangling, and policy. This takes critical thinking, or the capacity to step back from our belief systems and ask questions about content, composer, and evidence. And we also need to question ourselves more than ever, to ask about how and what we think, what strategies we use to make decisions, and what types of knowledge we value. Until we do so, fake news will continue to sink its insidious tendrils into all aspects of social life. We need to engage in what John Dewey in 1916 called “supplying the conditions which foster growth.” Those conditions start with each of us and the way that we think about our own beliefs, rather than just observing what others say. This type of critical thinking opens up a whole new level of awareness, and we really need it as we embark on 2017.
Example of fake news:
The most blatant example of fake news to hit Germany so far occurred earlier this year over reports that a 13-year-old girl of Russian origin, known as Lisa F, had been raped in Berlin by refugees from the Middle East. The story received extensive coverage on Russian and German media who reported the allegations that she had been abducted on her way to school and gang-raped. The attack turned out to have been fabricated, as Berlin’s chief of police was quick to point out. According to Berlin’s public prosecutor’s office the girl had spent 30 hours with people known to her, and a medical examination proved she had not been raped.
Fake news will continue to prosper as long as our society is too lazy to stay informed from reliable sources. We have had problems with being uninformed in this country for decades. For whatever reason, it is too hard or inconvenient to turn on the radio or TV for 15 minutes a day and get reliable news. It’s not a matter of not having time. No one is so busy they don’t have 10 minutes to look up the news on their smartphone or turn on the radio so they can hear the news while they do something else. No, people just don’t want to make the effort. But they love to take the time to socialize with their buddies. For hours every single day. On social media. Where fake news lives. –
What fake news isn’t
Stories from satire sites: Websites like The Beaverton are intentional news parodies, and different sites have different standards for labelling their content as such. But readers who don’t know it’s satire may mistake it for fact, even if it’s clearly labelled as satire (especially if that labelling isn’t as clear when stories get shared on Twitter or RSS feeds).
Satirical stories from regular news sites: Opinion and feature writers in mainstream media will sometimes use satire or fanciful hypothetical examples to make a point. Check to see if it’s labelled as satire or opinion.
Honest reporting mistakes: Even the best reporters sometimes get things wrong, report things as fact before they’re confirmed or get spun by sources who aren’t telling the whole truth. But if there’s no intention to fool anyone, it’s not fake news.
Critical reporting to determine if something is a hoax or not: If a viral story seems too good to be true, news organizations can still report on what the public knows so far with skepticism and caveats as they try to figure out what’s really going on.
Journalism you don’t like: Enough said.
How do I spot fake news?
Google and Facebook have begun testing out new tools to help users better spot and flag fake news sites. Google is now barring hoax sites from its advertising platform and is testing fact-checking labels in Google News, and Facebook implemented a new system for users and fact checkers to report suspicious stories. Those tools aren’t available in Canada yet, though the companies say they will be soon.
But the most reliable media-literacy tool is your own common sense. Here’s a checklist that can help:
1. Eliminate the usual suspects
2. Trust, but verify
3. The smell test
4. A second opinion
As an Online Content Creator – whether it be as a blogger, a video blogger, a podcaster, a microblogger or a general social media participant – you are an important part of the wider public knowledge creation and discussion. This role carries with it a responsibility to be fair, honest and respectful not only toward your fellow members of society but also toward fact. The content you create today will more than likely outlast both the content’s relevance and your own lifetime and it is of vital importance that it be a truthful representation of the topic at hand not only for those who access it today but for those who access it in the distant future.
1. The Role of the Bloggers and Online Content Creators in Society
1.1. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Information and Freedom of Content Creation, Publication and Expression, whether in print, in hypertext, in audio or video are basic elements of a democracy. The ability to produce and distribute independent content is among the most important rights in a democratic society.
1.2. Content Creators have important functions in that they carry information, debate and critical commentary on current affairs. Content Creators are particularly responsible for allowing different and independent views to be expressed.
1.3. Content Creators shall protect the freedom of speech, the freedom of Content Creation and the principle of access to any and all information that pertains to the public. They cannot yield to any pressure from anybody who might want to prevent open debates, the free flow of information and free access to sources. Agreements concerning exclusive event reporting shall not preclude independent news reporting.
1.4. It is the right of any Content Creator to carry information on what goes on in society and to uncover and disclose matters, which ought to be subjected to criticism. It is a Content Creator obligation to shed critical light on how Content Creators including individuals, the established press, media in general and themselves exercise their role.
1.5. As citizens and members of a free and democratic society Content Creators have an obligation to to protect individuals and groups against injustices or neglect, committed by public authorities and institutions, private concerns, or others.