A Rapid Increase in Fake News
It may sound like an oxymoron, but the phrase ‘fake news’ is now safely a part of our lexicon, and unfortunately it seems to be here to stay. Gaining traction over the last couple of years, fake news isn’t actually a new invention, there has always been hyperbole, exaggeration and the bending of the truth in news stories, however thanks to social media and online news, these stories have never been so widely available. We are now in murky waters in regards to ‘news’, and for that, the media must send sorry cards to the often unsuspecting public immediately.
Now, don’t get us wrong, not all fake news is bad, and believe it or not, there are a few different types of fake news. There’s fake news which is basically real news, but with a few exaggerations thrown in; there’s totally made up stories aimed to trick people and spread lies; totally made up stories that are satire; and last but not least, there is fake news that is just published for no reason at all. Satire news websites such as ‘Clickhole’ or ‘The Onion’ are what we would call good fake news (most of the time), and they just post funny stories that aim to sound like they could be true. All other types of fake news however, are usually pretty bad. So bad, that a few of our “Cunt”, “Fuck You Very Much” and “Twat Face” rude greetings cards may just about sum up our feelings about them.
A recent article by BBC Trending highlighted the dangers of fake news, exposing a website called The National Report that exclusively posts fake news, and advertises itself as ‘America's Number 1 Independent News Source’. The problem here, is that with most people getting their news from social media, once a story is believed on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, then it is shared and commented on hundreds or even thousands of times. This extreme exposure is dangerous as the nature of online news means that practically all unofficial online news sources copy each other, usually without fact checking, so fake news that was once published as a joke, can be published by what the public see as a more reliable news source.
It may seem like all fun and games at the time, but when caught up in the echo chamber of social media, fake news sources need to be held responsible for what they are doing, and what impact their ‘jokes’ will have on everyday people’s perceptions of news. It’s about time that these media sources send the public a big fat sorry card, like our “Sorry I’m a Twat” or “Sorry I’m a Cunt” sorry cards. The reality is that most people are stupid cunts, and they can’t be relied on to figure out what’s a joke, and what isn’t, all by themselves. Fake news is dangerous and needs to be tamed.
After a marked increase in fake news stories leading up to America’s presidential election, Facebook have now taken steps to try and flag fake news, allowing people to report a story that they think isn’t true, not showing it as high up on people’s newsfeeds and adding a ‘disputed’ marker so that people know it may not all be fact. Whether or not these steps will work, is yet to be seen, but in the mean-time, fake news sources need to be penalised, held accountable and they need to send sorry cards to everyone they’ve managed to fool.