Fake News or false news are news, stories, articles, etc. misleading, created to deliberately misinform or deceive the reader. Normally, fake news is used to influence user opinions, set the political agenda or generate misinformation, among other purposes.
Normally they tend to be impactful news, likely to go viral before being verified, in this way they manage to spread quickly, being difficult to stop once identified. Despite the fact that the public is currently aware of this type of news, its evolution does not stop and continues to expand in the form of data, images and even videos.
This concept basically refers to the disclosure of false information in the form of articles, images or videos, which is presented as real. Their goal is generally to manipulate public opinion for personal, political, or economic purposes.
But what makes false information a serious problem today? Malicious or sensationalized content for political purposes has been around since the rise of print media. However, the digital and social media age has made disseminating information on a massive scale remarkably easier and more effective.
Added to this, today we live in circumstances in which objective facts weigh less in public opinion than appeals to emotions or personal beliefs. This context, known as post-truth, encourages people to consume information that resonates with their position, without necessarily confirming that it is authentic.
How are fakenews created and disseminated ?
This type of content seeks to appear authentic. To do this, the many tools available today are used to edit images and videos in a believable way. The main types of fake news that can be found today are:
- Misleading content . Use of information to incriminate.
- Impostor content . Impersonates genuine sources of information.
- Manufactured content . Created from the ground up and designed to deceive.
- Fake connection . Use headlines or images that do not confirm the content.
- False context . Genuine information is spread with false context data.
- Manipulated content . Manipulation of data and genuine resources to deceive.
- Parody or satire.
Any one of them has the potential to go viral. Because? Essentially, because in today’s digital environment, consumers of information are also producers.
On the other hand, the algorithms of social networks personalize the content of each user according to their tendencies as a user. Additionally, they show more posts with the most interactions regardless of whether the information is real or not .
Types of fake news
Fake news has always been used for partisan purposes and economic purposes. In the latter case, the objective is to use unethical actions to drive traffic to a web page and to be able to use this data to increase advertising revenue.
Among the types of fake news we see, among others:
- Clickbait . They are news with misleading or biased headlines that are used to attract the reader and gain visits. They are used even in the most credible media.
- Propaganda. They tend to have a political component. It tries to spread an idea disguised as truth without appearing to come directly from the source concerned.
- Satire and/or parody. Although its creators do not intend to deliberately deceive or lie at first, many people believe this news without questioning it. An example of this type of fake news is found daily in El Mundo Today , a satirical medium that distorts current affairs at will.
How to recognize fake news?
Start by asking yourself these fundamental questions about content:
- What is your source?
- Who does it harm?
- Who benefits?
Similarly, follow these tips to spot fake news :
- Be wary of prominent, all-caps titles . These are designed to highlight and appeal to the emotionality of the users.
- Analyze the source site . A reliable medium offers data on its operation, location, work team and financing.
- Check that the indicated links lead to where they state and that they are related to the material. Also that the quotes mentioned are real or belong to who they say. A Google search can help you.
- Confirm that the images correspond to the content . Here Google is also helpful with its reverse image search.
- Check that the domain is genuine . Deceptive news sites frequently use addresses similar to those of recognized media to confuse the user. Also, check if other media have reported on the issue on the publication date.
- Look for a local source on the subject to contrast .
Today, the Internet puts a world of information in the palm of our hands. However, this opportunity to access knowledge requires critical thinking and analytical skills on the part of users so that the Internet is a means of democratizing information and not spreading false news .