Fake News or Alternative Fact as someone said.
As we all know, the phenomenon of fake news became quite popular a while back and there still much to say about it. It consists of spreading misinformation in a deliberate manner with the intent of misleading and deceiving the general public; whether it’s to increase readership or to sway the public opinion one way or the other, it makes it difficult for us readers to find significant content as much as it makes it difficult for journalist to pursue it. One can say that fake news are just glorified rumors, made “glorious” by the fact that they show up in major, important news outlets. The truth is, significant and veridical content often gets lost in the frenzy that fake news tends to unleash. In the midst of either sharing and endorsing fake news, or trying to refute them, relevant news get lost in the background.
Social media plays an important role in the spread of fake news. One of the most significant features of fake news is that it employs eye-catching headlines; in the Twitter age, where everything is summed up in 140 characters, this is a genius strategy. People will often share a story without even clicking on it and bothering to read the content when you have an attractive headline that appeals, if anything, to one’s sense of justice. In misguided outrage, fake news go viral, and important content gets ignored in the middle of endless rants. You could indeed say that fake news are, plain and simple, a form of manipulation; mass manipulation, at that.
You say something long enough and people who either don’t have time to check facts or simply don’t care, will eventually believe it and spread it along. As long as something has an effect on public opinion, whatever that effect may be, it has an impact on society. And what is society if not a large group of individuals that continuously makes choices based on the information at hand? This is why information is so sacred, and it must be treated as such. We owe it to ourselves to be responsible about the input our brains receive; to be critical and to aim for integrity, to demand integrity out of every bit of information we either receive and/or share. Information steers our behavior, we cannot afford to forget this fact.
Perhaps one of the clearest examples of the effect fake news can have, and its reach, was given by the recent American 2016 elections where this topic was quite a popular one at the time. It had a huge impact on the whole process, and it was difficult to catch up with everything that was being said. It was an almost worldwide back and forth that made it difficult to make up one’s mind about something because there was so much information to choose from, and it just wouldn’t stop coming. Fake news appealed to people’s feelings rather than to reason, which is also a very significant characteristic, and it clearly showed.
Beware of the spread of misinformation; in fighting the phenomenon of fake news we must enrich and respect our reason, and not let ourselves be toyed with.