Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you would have undoubtedly come across the term "fake news". But what is it all actually about? If you have been paying attention to recent developments you will have noticed the increasing concern around what has been called fake news. This term is now linked to some of the misinformation. Such information has been circulated about controversial topics, such as immigration and politics.
So what are fake news websites?
Such websites that are intentionally set up to enable stories to be published that are actually incorrect. They use social media to great effect to broaden their reach, as people share the stories without realising that they are false.
What is fake news and why is it concerning?
Fake news tends to involve either a high-profile event or a topical theme. This is used to generate news stories that are either completely fake or have been manipulated. This gets across a specific message.
Fake news is attributed to click-bait; which is the use of headlines to generate traffic to websites. The often controversial nature of the headlines means that people are more likely to click on them to read more. Many of the links appear first on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Thus allowing them to be circulated more widely. Consequently, the more visits a website has, the more revenue is generated for advertisers.
Many critics of Donald Trump's campaign and subsequent victory in the US election state that this was in part due to Trump supporters generating fake news regarding controversial topics, such as immigration.
How can you tell if a story is fake news?
Determining what is fake can be harder than you may imagine. Although some headlines will seem immediately suspicious, there are others that will appear more genuine. One way of checking the validity of a news story is to consider the source and whether this seems reputable. You can also cross-reference the story against other news outlets.
- Consider the source
- Read beyond the headline
- Check the author
- Check the date
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