The term “fake news” has grown in popularity over the past few years. While there has always been misinformation and propaganda, fake news is a strange but modern combination of the internet and lies.
How does Fake News work?
While the phrase “don’t believe everything you see on the internet” is incredibly common, it is not always so easy to follow this advice. When information spreads across social circles, news sites, or other forms of media, it tends to sweep those spaces like a virus. It can come in the form of memes. People will work messages into memes with photoshopped images that gain popularity. People will discuss this information on social media and forum sites. Over time this fake news spreads around and often becomes a popular belief. One only needs to look at the current situation in Hong Kong to find examples of this phenomenon.
What are the Effects of Fake News?
This misinformation can have massive effects, both within society at large and on a personal level.
Fake news has turned into a useful tool for affecting public opinion. Readers may remember the controversy surrounding Russian meddling with the United States’ last election. They had people and bots operating fake accounts online who spread information to affect the opinions of United States citizens. Much of that disinformation ended up going viral and catching on in public discourse. This is far from the only example. More recently, there has been a ton of misinformation spread about the Hong Kong situation. Journalists have fabricated video clips and stories for publicity. People with political agendas have spread what is essentially propaganda to further their interests. Fake news has a real impact on the way issues are perceived.
Sometimes false information is spread about individuals within their social circles. It can be used as a form of bullying when people spread rumors and false claims about someone behind their back in an attempt to affect that person’s life. Also, people can be falsely accused of atrocious acts. It is not unheard of for someone or a group of people to spread terrible accusations of someone who committed no wrongdoing. This can lead to people with no knowledge of the person joining in on the attacks in an ill-informed attempt for justice
What Should People Do About Fake News?
Vigilance is key. For starters, people should always be mindful of the potential for false information. When something is seen online without a source, try to find one. This is often a simple way to determine if something should be believed. Fact-checking sites can be a great resource. Even videos and photographs can be faked or misrepresented. This has been another common problem surrounding the coverage of the situation in Hong Kong. Whether it’s a blog post, a social media post, or an online forum, people should always search for the originator of the information they see and find out if they offer any credible sources for their claims.
Hamed Wardak currently splits his time between his home in New York City and On the island of Puerto Rico. (Hamed) Wardak is the son of a former defense minister for Afghanistan. Hamed Wardak is an entrepreneur and recently joined the techno music world, creating, producing, and performing his new artistry in underground techno clubs all over the world. Hamed Wardak is known as Valen of Wicked.