Updated: Oct 9
Fake News are false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke. Fake news can have real-life implications and social media companies are starting to consider taking measures to deter the spread.
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The information in this episode comes from the BBC, CNET, the Cambridge Dictionary, TED-Ed and Forbes.com
The Cambridge Dictionary defines Fake News as, “false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.”
Fake news has been a very hot topic recently in the world. Some fake news has been involved with Covid-19, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the United States presidential election. We saw that #riptrump and #ripsimoncowell were trending in the last couple of weeks.
How dangerous can fake news be?
This can vary depending on the story of course. But one instance in India broke an economy and endangered thousands of lives.
According to the BBC, “Fake or misleading news can have a real impact on those who find themselves the targets. This has been a particular problem in India during the coronavirus pandemic, where reliable sources of news are frequently drowned out by unverified information online.”
The BBC Reality Check team has been conducting research on false claims on the internet. According to the BBC, “Of the 1,447 fact-checks on five Indian websites, claims around coronavirus dominated, making up 58% of them.”
What are some of the effects of these claims?
A great example is what happened to the meat industry in India after these false claims. “False claims were also widely spread in India that eating vegetarian food and eliminating meat from your diet could prevent you from getting coronavirus.” The meat industry lost close to 80% of its sales from these false claims. Truly hurting thousands of businesses.
Speaking of businesses and misinformation, what can you tell the crew about the recent backlash against Facebook?
Advertisers are boycotting Facebook, and are refusing to advertise on that platform because of misinformation and hate speech on the platform. According to Forbes.com, “Over 100 companies, including LEGO Group, Dunkin Donuts, PopSockets Europe and Consumer Reports, joined the boycott on Wednesday; following a slew of major announcements this week from Target, Best Buy, Pfizer, Ford, Adidas, Clorox, Chobani and more that they would join an unfriending list of over 500 brands that collectively spend hundreds of millions of dollars with Facebook every year.”
Facebook made close to $70 billion last year, it’ll be interesting to see how this affects them financially.
So are social media platforms doing about fake news?
Most recently, Facebook has partnered with Full Fact, a United Kingdom Independent Fact-Checking Charity, to start a campaign to help their users stamp out fake news.
According to CNET, “Starting next month, Facebook users in the UK, Europe, Turkey, Africa, and the Middle East will see ads in their feeds encouraging them to think critically about the information they see.”
How do people check if something is fake news?
Ted-Ed, which is Ted Talk’s educational blog, gives us a few great tips.
Who wrote it?
What claims does it make?
When was it published?
Where was it published?
Most importantly, how does it make you feel?