Fake news is less of a chaotic mess in the USA than in other places of the world, for whom getting internet access is still troublesome… but it doesn’t mean that people from the USA are any better at telling fake news apart from real news.
One of our favorites this past week was the fake news that Elon Musk (the Creative mind behind Tesla & Space X) wanted to buy Facebook just to shut it down.
Fake news spreads faster than real news and is sensational enough that people want to believe in it, good or ill – and most often, to spread the news to those they know. There’s something of a ‘I’m the first person to know this, I don’t see anyone else having said anything so I’ll look clever by posting it’ within fake news sharing.
Everyone wants to be the one who heard it first.
The news is something that people place a lot of inherent trust within, by virtue of it BEING news, but with the rapid expansion of the internet, plenty of fake news sites appear real enough to fool plenty of people.
The spread of news affects people sociologically as well, by breaking or weakening human ties to one another, creating hostility and adversity, fanning the flames of a polarizing topic or worse.
When it is uncovered as being fake news, people feel embarrassed for having fallen for it, and blame Facebook or YouTube or whoever else delivered it for the faulty information.
There are sites like Snopes and Hoaxslayer which can uncover the truth of a news story that sounds a bit abnormal, a bit too shocking, or a bit too good to be true. Barring that, there are image searches you can do on Google Images, by clicking on the photo of any article appearing on your news feed (any static image) and then searching Google for the image.
This can help prevent you from looking badly when spreading fake news because you just didn’t know it was fake to begin with.
It will save your company from appearing ridiculous for sharing something which has no real merit.