Now-a-days, Technology is present everywhere. Its impact is seen in every part of the world. This growth of technology introduced lots of improvements in everyday life like online news, Virtual Friendships, Sharing photos and documents etc. While these can be the positive impacts, there are many negative impacts too. One of such negative impact is Fake News. Fake News occurs because of two terms. They are:
- Misinformation: This false information is because of honest mistakes shared by important organizations.
- Disinformation: This is the mislead information done deliberately as a part of evil intentions by shadowy government agencies etc.
What is Fake News?
While the whole world is relying on online information, this information is being faked and presented in a wrong way to audience for various personal gains. However, these gains are not honest. According Burshtein (2017), “Fake news is a fictitious report relating to current events which is fabricated, and often titled misleadingly, with the deliberate purpose of deceiving users and motivating them to disseminate the report” (pp. 398). It is a false way approach to convey wrong information to the viewers for the sake of advertisement. This fake news can be of any form, in paper or online, but the focus is to convey wrong information in a sensationalized way only promote or advertise their product. Generally, the authors, publishers and distributors of Fake news are often anonymous or pseudonymous (Burshtein, 2017, pp. 399). In this paper, the focus of Fake news is thoroughly on Internet.
Sources of Fake news on Internet:
The fake news is mostly prevalent in Social Networking sites (SNS) since they are the primary source of news. There are various social media sites like Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Twitter etc. These websites are the important targets for the viral of Fake News and hence the reliability of information found in SNS is decreasing gradually. According to Rayess, Chebl, Mhanna, Hage (2017), “Though it is not merely the social media’s responsibility in the dissemination of fake news, they are still considered partners in crime when it comes to filtering out or promoting news and stories through their newsfeeds” (pp. 147). Hence it is the sole responsibility of every social network platform to fight against this fake news from visibility. As a part of this responsibility, various SNS already started various mechanisms that fights against the fake news. Some of them are banning the exclusive Fake news websites, modifying the website’s algorithms that filters out the bad content from the display.
People responsible for fighting against Fake News
It is responsibility of every individual to evaluate the truth in the information they obtained. This factor of judging the News develops with the experience. For example, Students may not enough capability to judge the fakeness in every news they are exposed to, instead, students tend to believe the news on Internet. According to Rayess et.al., (2017), “Libraries and librarians play a major role in the battle against fake news. Information consumers, especially students, may be tech, internet or social media savvy, but their ability to assess information and identify fake, inaccurate, deceptive, biased sources remains questioned” (pp. 147).
How does Fake News go Viral?
“Fake news is often accompanied by a sensationalized headline which presents a misleading or warped sense of the article, called clickbait” (Burshtein, 2017. pp. 401). From the title or headlines of the news it gets tempting for the users which results in the increase of views and clicks, it gets viral. Some people get deceived by the clickbait whereas others intentionally makes this Fake News viral despite knowing it as wrong information.
Impact of Fake News in Information Evaluation
It is very important to know evaluating and validating information on the Internet. Generally, it is the tendency for people to believe the content they read on internet. The importance of fake news has grown in arenas of Advertisements and promotions in social, political and cultural fields. The “clickbait” is the satiric form of Fake news that exists in YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Clickbait is the term used for the articles that portraits sensational headlines or visuals that has nothing to do with the content they are attached to. (Comisso.C, 2017, pp. 100)
The impact of Fake News on the people in turn determines the impact on Information evaluation. Sociologists and Psychologists explains that Fake News acts as the potential catalyst for radicalized and extremist behavior of the people (Douglas, et al.). There is potential impact of Fake news on the reputations of businesses, organizations, and media advertising (Burshtein, 2017, pp. 405).
Also, Burshtein (2017), stated that
“The Web page information and browsing history of each user is analyzed and appropriate advertisements are served. Such programmed advertising is an instantaneous, automatic exchange of bids between an agency for one, more, or all of its client’s advertisements to appear on a website.” (pp. 406)
Major elements considered in evaluating information
Information has always been targeted on the internet to gain fake recognition and false promotion. The people who does this work are mostly anonymous. The role of information analysts plays an important role in this scenario. Evaluating this kind of fake news helps its users stay authorized and confidential about the information they collect on internet. But how can the Information be evaluated? Also, there are many Elements that are to be considered while evaluating information. On the whole, the three main elements are:
- Areas that can be targeted
- Means of communicating Fake news
- Methods that can control Fake news
Areas that can be targeted:
United States is a developed nation. It has many areas and occupations emerging in new ways every day. Some of the areas or fields that can witness the Fake News are:
- Political areas: There are scenarios where the Fake News are generated just bias people’s opinions and gain their support in political campaigns. The recent example of this is the “2016 presidential Elections of United States”. “Specifically, the frequent words mentioned in the dataset were President Trump’s Twitter handles (@realdonaldtrump, @potus), various media organizations and journalists (@cnn, @foxnews, @washingtonpost, @jaketapper, @drudge_report, @thehill, @cnnpolitics) as well as the Twitter handle of a Filipino “fake news” blogger (@mochauson)” (Brummette. J, DiStaso. M, Vafeiadis. M, Messner. M, 2018, pp. 508).
- Scientific areas: Various technologies that are invented in and around the world has been False promoted with the help of this Fake News concept. This helps in gaining more popularity for the products, though they are not of good quality. The example is some of commercialized channels exhibiting some products with very low initial cost to make heavy profits in terms of taxes.
- Social media: According Burshtein (2017), “A 2016 survey found that 62 per cent of adults in the United States receive their news on Facebook and other social media platforms” (pp. 404). Social media is one of the area where false news is used to extract personal data of Social media users. The example is the Luring the users by announcing heavy amount prizes, just to retrieve the personal information from the users. Also
- Mass media: Mass media is the area where all forms of media are made like movies, series etc. There is scope of Fake news from very fake likes to fake headlines for those movies attracting users only to increase the number of views for those movies and Series.
- Journalism: Though the credible channels won’t do that, the fake news are generally made by unauthorized channels to fake the videos just to promote their contents whatever it might be.
Means of communicating Fake news:
If there should be a fake news targeting false publicity in any area, the main important element is the means to communicate that news. According to Fallon (2017), “Before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the actual term “fake news” was rarely used due to the fact that the word fake is only a little over 100 years old”. The Social Networking site like Twitter is the media that made the 2016 Presidential elections viral and fake. Though Newspapers, magazines and Journals partially served as the source of Fake news in old times, the recent source is Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Myspace. Some mobile applications like WhatsApp also can be taken as the source. Social media is taken as the medium of communication since these sites are followed by number of users.
Methods that can control Fake News
Knowing about the areas the fake news is generated and the means selected to communicate the Fake news is very helpful to know how it can be controlled. Archivists, Government, Data Analysts, Business Analysts etc. are the people who works on information and is responsible for providing authorized information to the users.
Actions of Google and Facebook in removing Fake News
According to Burshtein (2017), Various organizations and countries address Fake news in different ways:
- Google prevents access of the websites that has wrong information. It introduced “Fact check” tag that helps readers identify Fact-checked content. Google also changed its search algorithm that least ranks the offensive, misleading and false articles in search results.
- Facebook banned advertising that includes false news using their revised algorithm in 2016 that is initially tested in US and UK.
Government Laws related to Removal of Fake News
There are some Government of United States made laws that guard the internet from the Fake news:
- Defamation (Truth, Fair comment, and Fair report): According to Law of Defamation under Communications Decency Act (CDA), One who republishes defamatory content is liable in the same way as the original publisher.
- Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation(SLAPP): This is issued for the individual if the published content is abusive or may cause defamation to the other individual.
Role of Archivists in identifying Fake News
Apart from the above Government Laws, there are Archivists who handles the Fake news in many ways. According to Comisso.C (2017), For a profession that takes ethical information practices seriously—values authenticity, accuracy, and social responsibility— it is essential that an archive knowingly preserve information that is false or untrue (SAA Core Values) (pp. 100). Archives are the best ways to represent the credibility of the Fake News. They are generally collected by Archivists that work on the necessary semantic contexts that are directly used to highlight the information that is false. This process helps as the exact evidence to prove the fakeness of the news.
According to Comisso.C (2017), “Fake news is born-digital, and as such it often comes with embedded HTML metadata that does not fit neatly into the most commonly used metadata schemas” (pp. 101). This helps archivists spot the fake news by considering an open data model for fake news archive and implementing modular approach to metadata which eliminates the fake news prevailing over from the content of the open data model.
Role of Libraries in removing Fake news
With the increased technology, Library professionals have new responsibilities to take up. One such responsibility is tracking of Fake News. There are excellent websites Library professionals use to remove the false news in their documentations (Batchelor, 2018, pp 144-145). They are:
- FactCheck: It is a non-profit, non-partisan website from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania that focus on wrong statements made by important people.
- Politifact: This is website operated by Tampa Bay Times. It gives ratings to the documentation from “Truth-O-Meter” that range from “True” to “Pants on Fire”.
- Snopes: This non-partisan website focusses on online rumors, other questionable and non-proven statements.
- Washington Post Factchecker: This is fact checking website designed by award-winning veteran journalist Glenn Kessler.
For the individual fighting against misinformation and disinformation, the awareness of the Fact news is necessary. This essay helps an individual to get the knowledge of the Fake news right from its source to its prevention. Everyone has the right to access for the right information. It depends on the self-awareness of the individual for the access of right resources. However, there are many laws amended by the Government and many methodologies followed by various organizations to fight against Fake News. The resources provided in this summary are credible and provides authorized information about the concept, impact and crucial elements of Fake News.
- Batchelor, O. (2017). Getting out the truth: The role of libraries in the fight against fake news. Reference Services Review, 45(2), 143-148. doi:10.1108/rsr-03-2017-0006
- J, DiStaso. M, Vafeiadis. M, Messner. M, (2018), Read all about it: the politicization of “fake news” on twitter. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 95(2), pp. 497 – 517. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699018769906
- Burshtein, S. (2017). The true story on fake news. Intellectual Property Journal, 29(3), 397-446. Retrieved from https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1934912990?accountid=7113
- Commisso, C. (2017). The Post-Truth Archive:Considerations for Archiving Context in Fake News Repositories. Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture,46(3). doi:10.1515/pdtc-2017-0010
- Rayess, M. E., Chebl, C., Mhanna, J., & Hage, R. (2018). Fake news judgement. Reference Services Review,46(1), 146-149. doi:10.1108/rsr-07-2017-0027
- Douglas, K. M., Chee Siang, A., & Deravi, F. (2017). Reclaiming the truth. Psychologist, 3036-40. Retrieved from http://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/lens-fake-news