Web of fake news
There is a constant flow of information in the rapidly changing modern world. It is sometimes very difficult to identify the real facts from maliciously invented ones. The graduate school of education accomplished the research in Stanford among the students from twelve American states considering their capability to enter media sources (Hart). The results showed that even students of middle school can easily distinguish the newspaper article from another web-published resource. Since youngsters have such skills there is the rising problem of fake information in contemporary American society. In this discussion, I will look at the issue of false news in the media environment.
People write false news often just to get famous or sell their newspapers. Since 2011 there was incredible facts on the internet. The news was about the blue “moon melon” that was created by Japanese scientists. The fake story was believed to be true for a long time (McHugh). A similar myth about a Nazi train full of gold has been rumored across the web in 2015. Some men told the public that they had found the huge train with treasures in Poland (Morris). The imagined narrative gain wide popularity among dreamers and treasure seekers. In my view, many people believed that Polish fake story because it was with romantic flavor and promise of richness.
To my mind, the most ridiculous recent fake story is about the disappearance of the English language in schools of Britain. Such incredible news was published in Daily Express in the summer of 2015. According to the report, due to many immigrants, British lessons were held in different languages ignoring English. Eventually, it turned out that the information was wrong. However, that story proves the fact that the most unbelievable fake facts are the most popular and bestselling.
According to Boczkowski, the influences of fake news on our current informational climate are rather strong. He calls fake news “side remedies” and those who distribute such false information “perpetrators”. The author determines the three effects that he sees as most damaging to our society. They are the contradictory feelings about the new information infrastructure, the growing range of obstacles that make false facts identification merely impossible, and the lack of knowledge in society.
The first damaging effect is uncertainty about the contemporary information infrastructure. Various large social networks engage millions of participants every hour. Nowadays, almost everyone has the opportunity of sharing his or her ideas and projects not only around the place of actual residence but internationally. Moreover, each person may create their own community and distribute their viewpoints and judgments with others. Such possibilities of the modern media environment are the green lights for intended fake news. That is why I consider social networks to be an unreliable source. I do not trust the information which is posted by different small organizations there.
The more dangerous effect of fake news is that it is more and more difficult to detect untruthful news among the constant flow of information on the internet. Popular web platforms rely on certain strategies during the selection of news to publish. Sometimes such algorithmically chosen issues are very hard to distinguish from untruthful facts.
The lack of knowledge in society is the third most damaging effect on our community. People tend to trust unproven and controversial theories. Their belief and outlook are based on the trust of people who are not specialists or experts in a certain field. Consequently, when scientific information is ignored and the person is concerned about the myth, it may cause much more substantial trouble to our society. The misinformation may be the starting point for the development of diseases, social, political, and economic problems.
In the conclusion of his article, Boczkowski thinks that almost everything will remain the same in the near future. However, he suggests that there should be the invention of some programs for controlling the flow of news. This device might detect the sources of fake information and block them. On the one hand, such a program can provide the monitoring of media resources. On the other hand, that person who intends to misinform the public does not stop and find another way to announce false facts. So, Boczkowski is rather pessimistic about what will happen with journalism in the nearest years.
As a consumer of information now taking college courses I always check the credibility and the reliability of the recourse for usage to formulate my worldview and support my arguments. The reliable evidence for me is scientifically proven information that was published in a scientific journal or book. Besides, I must admit that the social network gives access to many unreliable companies. I assume that there should be limitations for non-legal organizations and groups in the media environment.
To conclude, the consequences of fake news on American society may be negative because the influence of misinformation is increasing in the media world. Digital communication tools contributed to this problem very much by the fast development of broad information infrastructure. A huge impact in sharing untruthful facts belongs to social networks. Another reason for fake news popularity is the lack of cultural awareness among the population. The only way to prevent such sly tricks is to create a program of revealing false facts from genuine ones and restricting access to unreliable sources.
Boczkowski, P. J. “Fake news and the future of journalism”. NiemanLab, 19.12.2016.
Hunt, Elly. “What is fake news? How to spot it and what you can do to stop it”. The Guardian. 17. 12. 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/18/what-is-fake-news-pizzagate
McHugh, Molly. “A history of Moon melon, the most popular fruit that doesn’t actually exist”. Jan 14, 2014, https://www.dailydot.com/irl/moonmelon-internet-hoax-fruit
Morris M. “10 Fake Stories The World Fell For In 2015”. January 2, 2016, https://listverse.com/2016/01/02/10-fake-stories-the-world-fell-for-in-2015/