Fake news is any information, stories, or falsified events that are created deliberately to misinform or deceive the readers. Fake news is done with a purpose. This purpose can be anything from creating panic, anger, fear in its readers, or defaming someone. Fake news is also widely used in making or breaking public opinion about a politically driven idea. Real news on the other hand, is accurate, reliable and good quality news adds to the credibility of the media it propagates through.
Since its inception, social media has evolved much. It is not merely a networking tool but a widely used platform for information sharing. It can be any app or website or it can even be software used for social networking. Social media is a term used alternatively for Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, Deli.ci.ous, and many more.
All these Social media platforms have multiple formats to disseminate information. It supports photos, videos, text, and a very popular format ‘meme’ that is a combination of text and graphic. As social media usage has increased significantly, almost all media channels have their presence on these apps. News channels upload content every time a new news bulletin is aired. These media outlets replicate news on traditional and social media. Needless to say all accounts of media channels have reliable news, at times they have also been accused of spreading misinformation.
Other than the regular media channels, many groups, individuals, and companies have made social media accounts. The problem arises when the content is generated from any of these entities. Primarily because the content is not verified. There can be several other reasons. One may be the individual or group posting the content has not gotten enough resources to do independent verification.
Then there are fake accounts. These are the ones who might use name, photo, or description of a famous media entity, journalist, or a thinker. In reality, these accounts are run by other individuals. Falsified news from such accounts is more likely to be accepted as authentic because it is associated with an authentic name.
Fake news comes in all shapes and sizes. As social media sites are viewed by hundreds of thousands, the magnitude of news sharing becomes greater than the traditional media. Depending on its nature, fake news can impact at various degrees of intensity. Interestingly, Fake news just does not happen, it is developed and created to achieve specific objectives.
Table of Contents
Creating Fear with FAKE NEWS
One major objective of fake news is to induce fear in minds. This fear can be a fear to lose family, fear of dying in an accident of any sort, fear of disease, fear of financial loss. Constantly living with fear has long term effects on the human body. It severely damages the immune system which can lead to exposing oneself to other harmful diseases.
Losing Trust FAKE NEWS
Consistent exposure to fake news can lead to losing trust in the system. If someone does not believe in the authenticity of a system, one will always fear not having his expectation fulfilled. This leads to non-satisfaction and social withdrawal.
Affecting Political Ideology
Democratic practices allow people to make decisions and take sides as per their free will. This requires open access to accurate information. In the absence, political ideas get damaged and altered.
Inciting Violence and Hatred
Fake news has the power to incite violence and hatred about others. In many instances incitement to violence on social media has converted into physical violence on the ground. People have killed people over social media uploads.
Misleading advertisements or unproven information about products and services is common in the marketing field. The same has transferred to social media marketing segments. Buy Instagram Followers UK can also be used for marketing strategies. There are companies and people on social media who do fake marketing of lose products and can loot many through false advertising.
Fighting Fake News
In ordinary times, many have discussed and worked towards tackling fake news. This need becomes much more important during crisis situations because that is the time when fake news has more acceptability.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the special need has arisen for all social media platforms in particular and other public in general to fight the problem of fake news related to pandemic. Many social media platforms, rights-based organizations, social sector organizations working on information, communications, and technologies have published materials to fight fake news, how it can be spotted, and urged everyone not to believe everything they see on social media. It can be forged numbers, misinformation on precautions, and conspiracy theories.
For example, a step Whatsapp has taken that it restricted the recipients to only one when it comes to forwarding a message. Earlier, multiple recipients could be selected on one go-to send one message to all. Added task of sending the same message multiple times will discourage users to send messages without giving it due to deliberation.
Since there is a huge number of people accessing the information on social media, this easy-to-read list can help:
- Don’t believe everything you encounter on social media.
- Don’t rely on others to identify fake news from the real ones, do your research instead.
- Check the authenticity of the source.
- Think critically.
- If something grabs your attention too soon, look deeper.
- Don’t share something unless you are sure it is true.
- Don’t blindly follow someone or a trend.
Stay vigilant and stay safe!