A New Plague to the Internet: Fake News

May 2, 2017

“The media’s the most powerful entity on Earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty, and the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”  - Malcolm X.

Throughout time the media, such as the newspapers and radio, has influenced many different things. But as times change so do the ways people get information. One very large source of information and a hub where many spend their time is social media.

Social media is becoming one of the most powerful parts of our lives and changes the way we conduct most of our activities. With millions of people spends hours of days on social media, it is the best way to spread the important news and get people talking about sensitive and crucial topics. But with this potential to share information, many take advantage of it and slander different politicians and lie about many events.

These lies can lead to people having false perceptions of stories and people, causing them to believe outrageous lies. But because of the way it was developed and the detail behind the lies, many to fall into the trap of the story and are heavily mislead. This spread of misinformation and lies has been named “Fake News”.

Social media, and the fake news in it, has improved the spread of misinformation and how we see national and global situations. This fake news come from people wanting to push their political and opinion based agendas on the public.This can lead to people lying to get their point across and falsifying the media and make it untrustworthy. It misleads voters, causes turmoil, and create unreliable opinions in the public.

With the rise of fake news, many people believe false information about events and politicians, which can make a goliath sized problem miniscule or vise versa. With social media being the area of the internet where anything goes and anything can be said, fact driven or not, fake news thrives and prospers as people can put whatever they like on the internet (Social Media sites cant allow Fake News to take over) .

The use of fake news was a very important factor in the 2016 presidential election. On social media, many different stories and claims were made about the candidates to either make them look bad, or raise them up. These lies and false stories shared on social media impacted how people see each candidate and what they stand for, and persuaded their final vote. This persuasion of the people’s vote is extremely important as it decides who will help run this country for years to come.

Even though we have the free speech to share what we like about people in this country, the use of lies and fake news to slander presidential candidates should not be encouraged as it harms the public and disrupts their way of thinking and can cause even stronger bias. And lead to a complete lack of hope in the victors.

With the large amount of outrageous stories on the internet, it causes some to wonder “How do people believe these?”. The simple answer is that they want to. Who wouldn't want to believe a crazy story about a candidate that they don’t support? And believing a story just because it is about someone you aren't favored towards is what makes fake news thrive.

With around 32% of 18-29 year olds(US Adults' Use of Social Media) receiving all of there current events from social media and only 5% of the same age group using printed news as a their source for information, it's no surprise that social media is the way used to spread the falsified information.

Even though many professional news outlets, such as Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, use social media as a way to share urgent stories and get the news to the public quickly, fake news still infests social media and the reader shouldn't trust everything they have read. Many who write these false stories design the article to look realistic, even going as far as to make the article look like it originated from a reliable source (such as Fox News or CNN).

With more and more people feeding into the fake news and believing they are fact, it can cause more turmoil among groups of people as they feel attacked by the lies and deception that is Fake News. This can cause tension as arguments arise over the authenticity of an article and can cause normally tame debates to become more aggressive.

As fake news spreads and victims read these false stories, the public opinion changes as these lies start to seem as fact to the public. Many people share these stories they read on social media and in person. 41% of 50-64 year olds oftenly share news stories they find on social media,(US Adults' Use of Social Media)  which can help contribute to the genocide of fact and helps mislead the public.

The spread of fake news and false information on social media can cause many problems from making the public's opinion not factually based, to changing the mind of a voter with one false story. Social media users need to be more cautious with what they read and believe, because that story that seems too good to be true, probably isn't.

Fake news is a virus to the internet. It lies, deceives, and pulls the populous to believe outlandish stories and events. This threat to media credibility should not be taken lightly and the users of social media  should be extra careful in avoiding falling into these traps. Readers should not take everything said to heart, and see if the articles have credible research and if the information displayed is from a reliable source.

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