Effects of Fake News

Effects of Fake News


Fake news has been a discussion rising topic over the last three years. Initially, people consumed news from trusted sources, journalists as well as media outlets that are needed to tow behind strict codes of practices. The problem statement of this research is based on the fact that the emergence of the internet has promoted a contemporary method of publishing, consuming, and sharing news with minimal regulations or editorial guidelines. There has also been a general lack of comprehension concerning how the internet performs and also contributes to hoax stories. Consequently, fake news has been used to persuade and deceive people, leading to violence, and terrorism and making minority groups vulnerable to risks.

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Therefore, the purpose of the research is to find out about the emergence of fake news and the threats that it causes spreading through social media, where is difficult to determine its credibility. The common method of the investigation is recent secondary materials from which it is evident that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are the core foundations of fake news. Finally, I recommend that school curriculums should include media literacy to educate students since they are the greatest percentage of people that consume news via social media platforms.


Two years ago, the term ‘fake news was not a term many people used, but now it is identified as one of the greatest threats to free debates, democracy, and world order. Last year, the word was in many instances used by world leaders to refer to the fact that people are raising tensions between people, nations, and media houses by spreading untrue information, therefore, resulting in new regulations. Yet, there is no agreement on what fake news is, how much damage it causes, and how to prevent it. Within this study the origin of fake news will be established, as well as the way it emerges, types of false news, their mode of spreading, and the impact it has on education, political and economic spheres. However, there are measures that social media platforms have proposed to undertake against fake news and all these findings offer a comprehensive study of fake news circulating the globe.

Understanding the Concept of Fake News

A lot of information that people encounter on social media feeds may seem to be true, but often it is not. Fake news includes stories, news, or deludes developed to intentionally misinform or mislead the reader. Normally, it is developed to manipulate people’s points of view, cause confusion or push a political agenda and in most cases a profitable business for the online publishers (Balmas 434). Fake news can easily deceive people by implying trusted websites or applying the same names and web addresses as distinguished news institutions.

A political story, which seems to be damaging to the reputation of a person, entity, or agency, is frequently termed fake news. However, fake news is not restricted to politics but seems to possess currency in terms of general news. The presswork and distribution of bogus news are comparatively new, but the terminology ‘fake news has been in the domain for a long time. Fake news seems to have begun acquiring the general application at the closure of the nineteenth century (Darnton 78). Although people undoubtedly encountered fake news before the year 1890 it was not referred to as ‘fake news. There was an extensive range of expressions that an individual user had when the newspapers had been concocting, but the most accepted one was false news (Darnton 87). This expression dates back to the sixteenth century.

The researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore examined over thirty academic articles that had studied fake news since the year 2013 to 2017 and it yielded at least five different definitions of fake news (Balmas 439). However, all of these definitions based their facts on examples from social media feeds. The feeds have satirical content that applies how shows aired daily use humor to contextualize and ridicule actual world events (Rubin et al 265). One of them is a news spoof, which differs from satire in the stages of development of made-up stories for comical reasons. In addition, the propaganda developed by the state to manipulate public perception is another kind of fake news. Manipulation of actual videos and photos is targeted to generate an invalid narrative. Similarly, content created by public relations or advertising groups that seems as though it has been created by news channels falls under the same category of fake news (Balmas 440). Lastly, there is news hogwash, the definition of fake news, which appeared during the United States presidential elections in implication to fragments with no factual basis that tried to pass all authentic news articles.

The difficulty in differentiating fudged fake news happens when partisan institutions publish the news, providing a certain aura of impartiality and counterbalanced reporting. However, fake news has evolved fast enough, with one that has been remodeled by politicians, most notably the US president Donald Trump, when he dismissed good-faith reporting that he did not agree with (Allcott, Hunt, and Matthew 211). Thus, politicians sometimes redefine fake news as any reporting they do not like.

Impact of Social Media on Fake News

Social media has dramatically changed the acquisition of fake news as a whole. Fake news spread incredibly fast on social media, getting quicker and longer-lasting pickup compared to facts. Accurate scrutiny of Twitter, a most recognized and used platform for sharing news anywhere in the world, reveals that false news was re-tweeted more frequently than the actual news was. Lies diffuse significantly faster than actual information and the impacts get extra pronounced for bogus political stories than for dishonest news concerning terrorism, science, financial information, natural disaster, or urban legends (Shao et al 54). It means that it takes six times as long as bogus news to reach over a thousand and five hundred people. Surprisingly, most of the falsehood was not spread by bots, but by actual people, who identified the so-called ‘verified’ Twitter users and the individuals with abundant followers were in most cases not the source of some of the most popular unreal viral news feeds. It is not remarkable that the internet has also played a vital role in the resurgence of fake stories (Allcott, Hunt, and Matthew, 214). For instance, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Congress are in pursuit of evidence that Russian and other foreign users of the internet intentionally flooded social media with false information and posts intended to misguide US citizens concerning 2016 political candidates.

Besides Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms are the basic sources of news across the globe. Yet, users of these platforms are exposed to content that has questionable credibility, with people fabricating fake stories, conspiracy theories, and even hyper-partisan content. A lot of disinformation published, online fraud and spam are remunerative for culprits and political and government propaganda and produce both financial and partisan benefits (Shao et al 60). However, the fact that low-plausible content spreads easily and quickly suggests that individuals and the algorithms behind social media platforms are susceptible to manipulation.

At the end of the year 2016, a tweet from a white supremacist received more national recognition than ever anticipated. The tweet had incriminated one of the prominent figures in US politics, which interested many readers. Consequently, other rumors started to surface concerning the same person, using of term ‘hashtag’, whereby the news circulated to millions of tweeter users, and the screenshots were shared on other social media platforms (Shao et al 62). In less than two months, the story that began as a simple tweet turned into violence as members of society could not tell the difference between actual and fake news.

Every person is becoming a victim of intentionally highly misleading and fake news and high-quality reporting is considered vital to a healthy democracy and a peaceful world. Moreover, the spread of fabricated news, videos, photos, and memes on social media, specifically through Twitter and Facebook, has severely distorted man’s perception of the truth. It is most likely to worsen irrespective of concerted trials by social media organizations to decrease the provoking phenomenon (Balmas 440). The reason behind this fact is that contemporary technologies give humans opportunities to fabricate photos, videos, and audio. For instance, small and big organizations are creating frameworks to digitally develop speech in the decisive voice of sentences, words, and phrases a person never literally uttered. Some people refer to it as ‘Photoshop for voice’. Synthetic intelligence entrepreneurs are not left behind as they are developing systems that will enable the cinch fabrication of photos and videos. Furthermore, with advancing technologies, people will be capable of developing footage, images, and sound clips that make an impression that individuals can do things they never said or did (Balmas 442). The results will be not differentiable from authenticity, as the internet and specifically, Google is becoming one of the greatest sources of information about the history of the world.

One aspect of the tendencies of humans is that people cling to groups of like-minded individuals and skew the facts together. These societies that are intensely polarized are a reflection of this factual ideology. For instance, take a feminist movement; it consists of a variety of liberals, political ideologists, and religious conservatives. People select or reject information depending on how they concur or disagree with the ideologies or perceptions that dominate the group (Balmas 444). Therefore, it is clear that people tend to belong to a group, so they would rather lie to remain in that relationship that supports the facts that the community finds admirable.

An underlying transformation of forms of communication takes place, specifically how the media is transforming news to the public, which is from service delivery to strategic communication and the airing of news. These media houses have a multitude of channels to communicate straightforwardly with shareholders, yet only a few of them apply them well. Additionally, the shareholder-driven media have undergone a tremendous transformation in the past decade, and those adjustments firmly influence organizational prominence, since the mainstream media intends to remain significant players. However, due to contemporary competitors of social media, the shareholder teams conceive their own stories, thus fake news altogether (Allcott, Hunt, and Matthew 214). As a result, investigative journalism has been given up and instead renewed itself and broadened. The influence of these trends on stature is conspicuous and growing.

The argument is not that journalism is never wrong or free from mistakes, but fake news, which is a deliberate fabrication of stories with the intent to lie, is much more dangerous. Imagine a fictitious message, meant to exploit the practical logic of social systems of communication, that can be snuffed out at any time, sometimes with commercial or political intent from crafty groups to abuse this paradox for their gain (Allcott, Hunt, and Matthew 218). For instance, the pro-Russian site Sputnik which is managed and financed by the Kremlin usually publishes stories and makes them seem credible using several devices and social media platforms. However, it was discovered to publish absurd claims, such as the story of Merkel's refugee policies that led Germans to flee their homes (Allcott, Hunt, and Matthew 214). This kind of information was deemed dangerous in the sense that it exploits people’s fears, incites separation, and subjects minorities to risk. In this manner, it can lead to actual harm, besides the wrong impedance of the nation’s democracy framework, but at the same time cause unequivocal violence.

Measures Taken Against Fake News

In 2016, two of the global largest internet companies were confronted with criticism over how fake news on their sites has negatively influenced numerous political and commercial fronts. What followed were responses by these sites on how they do not tolerate the kind of misinformation by contending pointed aims at fake news sites’ revenue sources. For instance, Google banned websites that solicited fake news from using its online advertising service (Wingfield, Mike, and Katie 12). Facebook, on the other hand, updated its language in the Facebook Audience Network Policy, which at the moment claims it will not exhibit advertisements on sites that indicate illegal or misleading content, including fake stories sites. Further, Facebook took the initiative to update its policies specifically clarifying those websites used for spearheading fake stories (Conroy et al. 158). It has closely monitored all prospective news publishers as well as those already existing to make sure they comply with its policies (Jang and Joon 295). Altogether, the decisions of the two internet companies indicate that they did not take a step aside and ignore the growing outcry against the power of fake news sites, which influence societies across the world.

During the 2016 US presidential elections, Facebook was accused by some newsroom commentators that it swung some voters in favor of the Republican presidential candidate via misleading and untrue news that spread quickly through social networks (Allcott, Hunt, and Matthew 224). For instance, a false incident Facebook had to explain was the credibility of the story that Pope Francis had endorsed the Republican presidential candidate (Wingfield, Mike, and Katie 12). Google was also accused of providing extra prominence to fake news. For example, a site known as 70news, which was hosted by Google, had spearheaded false information that the Republican presidential candidate had won the Electoral College in a popular vote ahead of the Democratic presidential candidate.

Further, Facebook enlisted with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which is a branch of the Florida-based think tank Poynter. The network enables Facebook users in Germany and the US to flag any news as deliberately untrue. The news then proceeds to the third-person fact checkers, usually from media organizations such as the Washington Post, who will scrutinize the news (Jang and Joon 297). If it happens to contain any form of incredibility, they tag it as untrue or false, and then the news gets a confuted tag that stays with it across the social network (Wingfield, Mike, and Katie 17). An additional warning pops up if Facebook users attempt to share the fake news, and the ‘fake’ tag will negatively influence the story’s score in the Facebook algorithm, meaning that fewer individuals will view it in their Facebook account news feeds.

How to Equip Students with Knowledge to Check the Validity of News Sources

Young people are the most influenced by how catchy the source of news appears on the internet, specifically social media, and not by the source of information. However, it is not right to blame the young generation for the way they consume news as even adults have an issue separating actual news from fake news (Golding 76). Some people tend to perceive the fact that the internet provides users with ostensibly endless feasibility when it comes to uncovering material as a favorable circumstance. Nevertheless, it can take the form of fake news, satire, or harm and also become impelled with cash rewards created via advertisements.

Fake news has subjected students to believe in anything that is transmitted via social media and any other media outlet. It is also evident that most students are not taught media literacy in their curriculums. Students learn all the significant life skills, awareness, and comprehension to eventually graduate with the least knowledge of how media influence their daily lives as well as deliberation processes (Golding 80). In addition, it is evident that students are the greatest number of people that consume news from a variety of sources, but are not geared with the mental instruments fundamental to determine the genuineness of the content that various sources deliver. Thus, it would be necessary to place accountable measures on schools to develop a curriculum that offers media literacy and obliges teachers to assist the students to differentiate between credible and incredible news and their sources (Jang, Mo, and Joon 299). Moreover, teachers need to incorporate contemporary-related pivotal terms such as satire, credibility, and bias into the curriculum and take time to ensure that students are aware and get empowered to be able to question the credibility of the news they consume (Golding 83). They should be enlightened and encouraged to discuss the validity of all news, thus students will fact-check the information they come across on social media.


Fake news is a news spoof that differs from satire and has developed in stages of made-up stories for comical reasons or the spread of propaganda. Fake news is not new and in the last two years, it has been prominently used to spearhead propaganda, cause conflicts, and change how people perceive certain ideologies. Its channels of spreading rely on social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook. It has been identified that fake news was largely used back in 2016 during the presidential campaigns in the US, resulting in negative effects and victims, such as the US Democratic presidential candidate. It has also been used against political ideologies and policies like the migration policies in Germany. Fake news has also led to extremism specifically in a form of terrorism in Europe and risking vulnerable minority groups. Namely, it has been applied to influence the attitude towards certain minority groups such as the migrants from Syria to Europe who are affected by civil war. Furthermore, it has come to my notice that countries such as Germany are criminalizing immigrants and their citizens through fake news. However, most news outlets such as Google and Facebook have put measures to curb the spread of fake news and to enable checking the credibility of news that the users of these sites encounter. Since the emergence of social media platforms, the young generation specifically students are the most numerous consumers of fake news. Due to this realization, a measure to ensure the credibility of news they view has been proposed by introducing media literacy into the curriculum to enable them to differentiate between credible and fake news.

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