Communication has always enabled us put together with our friends. I mean we even have friends that we have never physically met but we talk and see each other through some medium. That is just possible today due to the digital revolution. But, dating it back to the traditional periods before the beginning of the information age, man could still communicate to both those who were just near them and those far away from them with the aid of activities such as beating drums, blowing horns, sending a physical messenger, using smoke signals among many others. That actually highlights for you how there was a need for ‘mass communication’ to some extent as well as distant communication. As things evolved, man’s thought also evolved as schools would be discovered later where people would go to those schools and learn in various disciplines where technology would be one of the disciplines.
Fast forwarding, there was a need to shift from the mechanical and analogue modes of communication and invent digital ones. This marked the beginning of the information age. The digital revolution just begun. This would lead to invention of computers where messages could now be sent from one person to another, letters could be written and sent, send telegrams, the Internet was founded which was later integrated with the world-wide web (WWW) and that was the beginning of the advancement of new technology in the field of communication. Someone from the east side of the world could now be able to communicate with someone from the west side of the world within a short period of time. Plus, with the introduction of the WWW, many people could now access the same information at the same time since people started owning personal phones and computers which could access the Internet. The revolution continued and gadgets like TVs, Radios and smart-phones would later be invented, meaning more people could now access information. Search engines, Blogs and various websites have also been created over the time to ease the spread of information. Today, we have more than 3 billion users using the Internet on various platforms that have been created to link people together such as the one you are reading this post on, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, Telegram, WhatsApp among many others.
Digitization therefore didn’t come with positive benefits only, it has as well brought us some negativities.
Today, we are focusing on fake news.
This is actually not a new word to you in this day and age. You have probably watched news or read an article, or watch a video on any of the streaming platforms then you realize that some things are not really adding up. I mean they are fake.
In my own view, I think people would spread fake news due to various reasons best known to them, just to mention a few;
- To gain traffic for their platform and get more views through employment of yellow journalism tricks – using false catchy leads.
- To gain more attention so that people can talk more about them.
- Just to waste your time.
- Promote propaganda.
- To get opinions about the opposite story/the real information they are not conveying and,
- Just to read other peoples’ psychology in what is always referred to as click bait
Therefore, I would define fake news as deliberately misinforming people with the aim of some gain or, as a result inappropriate research and evidence about what you are conveying and by the way, they could vary from being bias, to rumors, to a click-bait, to being even satirical, sometimes even repress state operations and fake science.
Why you should care.
Fake news always spread faster because they are shared the most on social media. Just like I talked about the snow ball effect the other day, person A might develop that fake news, then persons B, C, D, and E finds the same news and spreads it without knowing much about the source which to some extent they may point back to person A as the reference and most people might believe in person A since he/she is a public icon and also it succeeds due to the fact people always don’t have much time to go into details and they only depend on the publication for quick reference and updates. You see here, you shall have deceived a whole community and depending on the intention of the fake news, people might implement it. Such things as hatred, propagating wars, separation, instilling beliefs, withdrawal from something among many others, which are real life consequences. This is actually possible since people are always more keen and accurate when listening to fake news than real news.
To avoid those real life consequences from occurring due to fake news, let me suggest to you how to curb the issue of fake news. In real sense, it would be difficult to determine if some information is real or fake since you are not the publisher and you might be blamed for denying people their freedom of media and to some extent their freedom of expression and speech. To avoid all this chaos, I would therefore advice the news consumers to be the one not falling victims of fake news by;
- Try to get the actual articles and who authored them so that you can validate it yourself based on the author.
- I advise you to always follow some of the reporters on their social media so as to stay updated, they are always credible most of the times.
- Try to read multiple articles and find out what each of them is saying concerning the matter.
- Always pay attention to the wordings as this could help you decide if it’s true or not i.e. ‘unconfirmed sources…’, ‘rumors have it…’
- For you too not to fall victim of spreading fake news, do verify news before spreading.
In conclusion, before you believe, intact and investigate.