Much has been said in recent weeks regarding the fake news that is published, specifically at Facebook. Not everyone realizes it’s fake news, and it can go on to have an effect if a certain number of people end up believing it. This was the case with the recent presidential election in the United States. It’s been said that the outcome was changed through fake news that was reported and believed about the loser.
But what will happen with fake news moving forward? Now that it’s been identified, will it be easy to put a stop to it? Or now that it has had an impact, will it create a fake news industry so that no one will ever know whether a news story is true or not? We posed this question to our writers to get their take on it – “What do you think will happen with fake news in the future?”
Derrik sees it as a problem that “stems from social media.” He believes it’s easy to “pad yourself with your own worldview, to feel safe and comfortable.” He believes it is so prolific because no one wants to be challenged. He thinks to combat it, people need more critical thinking skills and a skeptical mindset. He also thinks if Facebook started doing some fact-checking, it would help the more naive people. Mahesh falls in line with him, stating that “Fake news will continue to exist, and it’s up to the individuals to distinguish between fake and real news.”
Ada doesn’t feel there are any efforts that will stop fake news, “while there are morons to fall prey.” She believes that if you only use reputable sources and double-check your facts, that you’ll be safe. Once the majority of people do that, fake news won’t be as much of an issue. The thought here is that if you read news on a reputable news site and not a social one, then it might be true. “Fake news undermines the authority on social media. – it’s like crying wolf.” Ada fears that eventually no one will read anything they read on social media, even if it’s true.
Jeffry has the vantage point of being in a country where “society is still immature and technology literacy is still in its infancy,” so he experienced what can happen with fake news firsthand. He thinks it spreads even faster if it’s related to race and religion. “One person can manufacture the fake news, and another will gladly hit the forward button without bothering to check its validity.” He doesn’t see fake news going away any time soon and doesn’t believe there’s anything that can be done to stop it, as it will take maturity, know-how, awareness, and willingness to double-check everything to stop it.
Robert is looking at the issue from a few different angles. He believes social networks could flag the fake news as ultimately they are private companies, and they can decide how they should best deal with it. He doesn’t agree with “outright blocking fake news” but believes some kind of note stating, “This comes from a source associated with fake news” could be good. He also agrees with others that people need to be able to distinguish between real and fake news and that it’s on them to do the research to check the facts.
He also brings up another good point that sometimes it’s not necessarily fake news with the intention of fooling people. Sometimes it’s just satire with the intention of entertaining people. Sites that publish satiric news stories wouldn’t be as fun if they were flagged and there was a big note stating it was false. That’s what makes it so fun. So should everyone lose out on their fun with the satire just because there is a section of people who are unwilling to fact check and will go around and republish it as if it is fact?
We’ve given you much to think about here. It’s obviously a bigger problem than anyone thought if it’s potentially changing elections. Do you agree with our writers? Do you see a way to stop it or no? Does fault lie with social media or with the readers? Sound off below in the comments and let us know what you think. What do you think will happen with fake news in the future?