The popularity of the word ‘Fake News’ is an ultimate by-product of US Elections 2016. Now wonders why Collins dictionary has picked it as official word of 2017. The propagation of false news and their acceptance on public forums has proved that we are living in a post-truth world.
Social media as hotbed of Fake News
There is no need to define the term at this point; notably, when Donald Trump is announcing the Fake News awards for journalists. According to media reports, social media remained a hotbed of false news. Evan Spiegel, co-founder, and CEO of Snapchat reportedly remarked that social media had given rise to the fake story.
If this is true then what are the reasons that make social media a hotbed of fake news?
— Jenessa Evans Ayache (@JenessaE) 19 January 2018
Matter of Interest vs. Matter of Fact
Truth has always remained a related entity. Despite this, custodians of a particular truth need to leverage the facts for proving that their version is correct.
Social media is also a hotbed of false news because a matter of interest takes a back seat, before a matter of fact.
The problem with social media is that it runs on opinion and interests of users. People want to see what they believe is right. They don’t bother wasting their time for a fact check. Or perhaps, they fear the destruction of imaginary castles, built around biases towards specific ideologies. Users don’t hesitate to share a matter of interest, irrespective of it is not being backed by a matter of fact.
Users love to share the stuff that appeals to their interests. According to a survey, more than half of the respondents from the UK admitted that they share news on social media without confirming it. Therefore, social media is a hotbed of fake news because it allows people to spread prejudice and believes.
Social Media as a Host of Click Bait Stuff
Social media has a significant role to play in making ‘Fake News a Word of 2017’. Media websites that drag traffic from social media use the click bait headings. For this purpose, they often don’t mind to spread an entire fabrication about a business, entity or celebrity. The spread of fake news about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during US Presidential Elections was imminent. But, very often showbiz celebrities also became a victim. Last year a UK based media website spread the word about Pakistani singer Hadiqa Kiani’s alleged arrest at Heathrow for trying to smuggle heroin. The news immediately went viral, and many media outlets in Pakistan reported it without even corroborating the facts. Hadiqa denied the false reports and slammed the media for spreading fake news.
On social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, people come to spend leisure stuff and see the entertaining thing. So, websites that want to attract traffic use social media for spreading click bait headings. With the help of such stuff, they don’t care to present the real picture and often mislead the people with manipulation or an entire fabrication. Such a dynamic use of social media, undoubtedly makes it a hotbed of fake news.