Fake News as a Virus
You’ve probably been a victim of false news or misleading headlines at least once. The truth is, in this Information Age, false news stories spread faster and farther than the truthful articles. I’m sure you’ve noticed that a lot of fake news easily get viral on Facebook these days.
Fake news target people who are poorly informed and those who have a difficult time telling whether the news is true or not (such as teenagers and kids).
If you have a background about marketing, then you’re aware that marketers make use of people’s surfing opinions, habits, and social connections to use ads at surfers with the right interests. However, if your information reaches wrong hands, it’ll be used for propaganda.
As you can see, false news can be likened to a virus used as a weapon. You can be immunized with education, but it may not be sufficient to defend you. Take note that these false articles are intended to confuse readers and mislead their beliefs, which means even “educated” ones would have a hard time determining if they’re true.
The Role of Social Media
Social media is an excellent source of news if the stories are true. That’s because everyone can access social media easily, it’s cheap, and the distribution of information is fast. But having news in social media is a double-edged sword. You might be informed easily with a low price, but are the articles true? Are they objective and not biased? People nowadays, especially the youth and young adults get information from news circling Facebook and Twitter. But most of them aren’t aware that they only get low-quality and oftentimes biased stories only.
Social Media and Fake News
The dissemination of false articles has negative effects on individuals and society as a whole. It’s saddening that social media, which are created for a good cause, are being used to baffle people and spread false accusations to people and organizations.
What You Can Do
The best thing you can do is be a social media account user who seeks for only the truth and refuses to believe in an instant. Educating yourself about the websites that can be trusted is also an excellent way to keep yourself away from sites that distribute fake news stories. You can also report such websites or hide/prevent them from showing up in your social media feeds. Sharing truthful articles with no misleading headlines is also something you can do for others. Share the truth; not fake news.