Most of you will have heard about ‘fake news’, but have you ever stopped to think about the impact it’s having?
International news agency, Reuters, published their Digital News Report for 2017 which stated: “Only a quarter (24%) of…respondents [think] social media does a good job in separating fact from fiction (compared to 40% for the news media)…Data suggests that users feel the combination of a lack of rules and viral algorithms are encouraging low quality and ‘fake news’ to spread quickly.”
‘Fake news’ was a phrase used by Donald Trump at his first press conference as President-elect in January 2017. Since then, fake news has evolved into more than a trending hashtag.
Part of the problem is that the internet fosters a fake news economy, with the ‘share first, read later’ culture that social media encourages.
What qualifies as ‘fake news’?
Essentially, fake news is misinformation. It’s not a recent phenomenon, but it’s never been this powerful. The sheer volume of shares, likes and retweets spreading this type of ‘news’, has made it into a serious issue on online platforms with the potential to damage hard-earned reputations and a culture of misinformation, mistrust and confusion.
How can we combat ‘fake news’?
While Facebook and Google have promised to clamp down on fake news distribution by using independent fact checkers and marking unreliable sources, this is only half the battle.
As internet users, we must all fundamentally change the way we engage with ‘news’, personally and corporately.
Personally: A new typeface has been created to encourage the reader to pause and consider what they are reading, actively stopping them from skim-reading content and sharing without thinking.
This follows the ‘think before you tweet’ rule and helps to foster a culture of ‘question everything’.
Corporately: As a business, it is advisable to develop a strong and coherent social media presence that aligns with your objectives and values. This will foster trust and loyalty among your following and among media outlets. By researching and confirming the details of any content that you create or share means, that any news and stories posted in connection with your business are always classed as being from a genuine and trusted source, which will have a positive impact on your reputation.
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