A Coup by Fake News

We discussed a variety of different topics throughout this class. The one that caught my attention the most was the fabrication of fake news. This was particularly interesting to me because it is so relevant in today’s society.

I chose this picture because it depicts very clearly how fake news and false information is starting to take over. The truth is starting to be heard less and less and is almost being flooded out. Information on social media and the internet is starting to take control over the entire realm of information.

The spread of false information is often referred to as ‘Information Disorder.’ Information Disorder requires the spread false information to be deliberate. It is also often a tactic of destroying reputations. There are a lot of ways to go about spreading false information or even just guiding someone towards misleading intel. The one I see most commonly is creating a flood of information — to the point that it is almost impossible to tell what is real and not real.

According to Claire Wardle, it is important to specify what a person means when they use the term ‘fake news.’ She separates the spread of information into three different categories. Misinformation is ‘false information that is spread without any bad intentions.’ Disinformation is similar but it is ‘false information that is spread with harmful intent.’ And last is Malinformation; Malinformation is the spread of ‘truthful information with harmful intentions.’

Why is the presentation and spread of false news so troubling to think about? When there is such a massive amount of information it becomes almost impossible to fact check and monitor everything that is being put out. Wardle calls this ‘information pollution.’

In a stand up presentation, Sascha Barron Cohen delves into this exact topic — he specifically talks about Facebook. Recently, Facebook and Mark Zuckerburg have been called out for failure to fact check any of the political advertisements that are posted. Zuckerburg argues that doing so would be a violation of the right to free speech. In response, Sascha Barron Cohen says not filtering through political posts can be truly detrimental in many ways. So much information is put out there that even incorrect information makes it to the feeds of the right people. He suggests maybe not posting the posts immediately and looking through them first. The rapid spread of misinformation is dangerous. It can both distort history as we know it and even more so, the entire existence of facts. It becomes almost impossible to determine if something has any truth to it.


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