The Consequences of Fake News
As a result, most readers are unable to identify the nature of the website, causing them to believe blatant falsehoods, thereby negatively affecting their perception of certain people or organisations.
This essay critically engaged with the controversial notion that the audience is guidable to “fake news”. It does not suggest that the audience is gullible yet argues that social media manipulation can result in misinforming, disinforming, or mal-informing audience. It starts off by explaining the term “fake news” before discussing algorithms usage by social media firms for political and commercial purposes. Relevant theoretical debates about the audience’s gullibility or their participatory nature were applied to the cases from the US and Egypt. Optimistic views on social media news audience were contrasted with a more cautious approach to this new matter. This essay recommends that in future, independent regulatory bodies such as Ofcom should shoulder more duties and responsibilities to guarantee better information flow and reliability on social media. The risk of over-regulating social media and thus harming the free speech has also discussed and considered as a potential implication. Finally, applying contemporary theories on empirics to criticise the issue of “fake news” on social media demonstrates the need for more theories to solve current legislation challenges.
A crucial part of that strategy should involve media literacy training and equipping news consumers with tools that will allow them to gauge the legitimacy of the news source, but also become aware of their own cognitive biases. The problem will only get worse without proper action as more people get their news online and politics becomes more tribal and polarized.
Bowman, S & Willis, C 2003, We Media, The Media Centre at The American Press Institute, Virginia.
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Tewksbury, D, Hals, M & Bibart, A 2008, “The Efficacy of News Browsing:The American Press Institute, Virginia” Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 85 (2), pp. 257-272.