The world we live in today is one that moves on the go. A fast-paced, ever-busy, and ever-changing society collectively linked and connected to the Internet. The Internet, by definition, is a network – a global network that houses information on anything and everything. Of course, as an intangible entity that has roots just as spread-out and all over the place as the sources of its content, the Internet, or more specifically, the information it stores, is definitely not infallible in its validity.
Which begs the question: Is the information we see as truthful as its sources claim? Or is it all fake news?
Simply put, Fake News is a term used for information (or rather, misinformation) that is spread by anyone who has the means to. Spreading such news is not limited only to official members of the press in traditional media, but also to anyone with a large following who can put forth their own content on the Internet, or any other form of media.
Social media is a typical source of this. Think posts that contain headlines or titles that have been carefully-worded so as to intrigue its potential audience, and invoke them to click on the link, read or watch its content, and even share it, eventually leading to misinformed discourse of chaotic proportions (read: that video, Care Bears included, that PCOO Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson made which served as the catalyst of the feud between her and Kris Aquino). Fake news lacks actual credible basis, yet is put forth by its author as factually correct.
First Draft News’ Claire Wardle has pinned down 7 types of fake news, namely:
- Satire or Parody – Content without intention to cause harm, but has the potential to fool.
- Misleading Content – Misleading use of information to frame an issue or individual.
For example, the video that Mocha Uson edited after all the backlash against President Rodrigo Duterte for kissing an OFW in South Korea. Yes, the one with the Care Bears in it.
- Imposter Content – When genuine sources are impersonated. (The REAL ABC News website’s url is abcnews.com)
- Fabricated Content – Content is completely false, with the intention to deceive its audience and do harm to its subject.
- False Connection – Contains headlines, captions, or media that does not support its content
“Consider the promotional images you might see on social media or at the bottom of news sites with the headline like ‘Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Dead,’ with a photo of a celebrity that’s alive. Of course, then you click through and find that person wasn’t mentioned in the story after all.” – Mandy Jenkins, editor-in-chief at Storyful
- False Context – Content wherein the information is genuine, but paired with false contextual information.
- Manipulated Content – Content is genuine, but is manipulated in such a way to deceive the audience.
Now you know the kinds of Fake News most commonly seen in today’s media. All there’s left to do is to make sure that you don’t fall for it. And yes, I will share a few tips to help you with that too:
- See it? Don’t believe it. At least, not without doing your own thorough research on the topic. Not everything you see on the Internet is real, that should be common sense by now. Don’t instantly believe whatever eye-catching article, link, or picture you see!
- Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Or wreck the timeline by sharing that article you firmly believe to be oh-so-true, but actually isn’t that credible. Sometimes, our own biased thoughts and opinions make us more susceptible to believing whatever information is more inclined towards our personal beliefs, while we automatically dismiss information that contradicts us, which leads to people sharing things without a second thought, whether they’re factually accurate or not.
- Be open to learning new things, or relearning for the greater good. Maybe you’ve been reading from News Site #1 that caters more to yellow journalism than most, and you’ve just now found News Site #2 that presents more accurate and valid articles. It might not be easy to accept that what you’ve been reading from News Site #1 isn’t all correct, but if News Site #2 contains more credible information, wouldn’t having more faith in News Site #2 be better?
- Educate yourself on the kind of Fake News and misinformation being spread around. For example, reading this blog! Reading articles that give you information about what fake news is will help you understand more about it, and how you can prevent it from spreading by knowing what it is.
It’s our responsibility to be more careful about what we share on the Internet. ‘Think before you click’ really is something that we should all keep in mind as we continue living in this age of information and new technology.
- Wardle, C. (2017, May 15). Fake news. It’s complicated. Retrieved June 29, 2018, from https://firstdraftnews.org/fake-news-complicated/
- Robson, D. (2017, February 11). How to avoid falling for lies and fake news. Retrieved June 29, 2018, from http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170210-how-to-avoid-falling-for-lies-and-fake-news
- Saludo, R. (2018, February 15). Fake news in PH: Here’s the real story. Retrieved June 29, 2018, from http://www.manilatimes.net/fake-news-ph-heres-real-story/380295/
- Czarnecki, S. (2018, January 19). A guide to the 7 types of fake news from Storyful’s new editor. Retrieved June 29, 2018, from https://www.prweek.com/article/1455046/guide-7-types-fake-news-storyfuls-new-editor
- Featured image retrieved from: https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/05/facebook-article-information-button/
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