Fake news is the type of information that involves deliberate false propaganda and hoaxes transmitted through traditional news media such as print, broadcasting or online social networks. Fake news is also referred to as junk, fraud, scam, hoax and phoney news (Tandoc, Lim & Ling, 2018). Digital reporting has put fake news or yellow media back and through its use. The reporting is sometimes referred to in social media as propaganda, but it rarely becomes a mass media reporting. False news is usually produced and reported for the intention of undermining a news organization, institution or individual both financially or politically. In most cases, it is always aired to improve coverage by using sensationalist, deceptive, or simply invented headlines. Likewise, the stories and names of clickbait always gain commercial income from this practice.
The essence of fake news and headlines has significantly risen in the post-truth affairs of the state. For media coverage organizations to produce Internet Marketing Revenues, they require the opportunity to draw traffic to their websites. Publishing a tale that draws the attention of consumers can help marketers to enhance their operations and boost their ratings. Fake News, competing with real news stories, has been involved in the spread of easy access to digital advertising revenue, growing political discord and prominence in social media, particularly in the Facebook News Feed. False information, especially during the election, are usually produced and distributed by hostile government agents. False news travels more with confirmatory prejudice and communal networking algorithms, such as the ones found on Facebook and Twitter platforms. For instance, the current influence of junk news is felt in the vaccine reluctance.
Fake news threatens the mainstream reporting and makes it impossible to report vital news reports for media writers, editors, producers and reporters. A study by BuzzFeed has found that Facebook has earned more attention than the top twenty fake news reports from nineteen mainstream media sources regarding the 2016 United States presidential election. (CBS News, 2016). Anonymously published websites with false news, and no established publication houses, are always blamed for the difficulty in taking legal action against the sources with false information. Sometimes the phrase ‘lying press’ is utilized to cast doubt on credible news from an adverse political point of view. The word fake news was made famous by President Donald Trump during his MAGA campaigns and even after his election. He used this phrase to describe how some media coverage houses negatively disseminated false information about him.
The word was strongly condemned in reaction to the abuse of Trump, and the United Kingdom cabinet agreed that the country should no longer use it. The British government argued that the term is mis defined, deceptive and clashes with a range of false facts. Fake stories about individual persons may have a severe effect on their lives. These persons may be verbally abused on social media platforms. A person should never depend on unvalidated social media data alone to determine whether an individual is guilty or not. A piece of fake news circulating in the media may create fear and even cause death. Some people may develop a mental disorder because of the invented or distorted information that they read on Facebook, Twitter or any other platform. The false information may also promote discrimination and prejudice based on race, gender or ethnic group. Since most of the social media platforms have been linked to fake news, some of them have gone a step further to curb this menace. The response strategies include the google initiative and Facebook fact-checkers.
CBS News. (2016, November 17). Probe reveals stunning stats about fake election headlines on Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/facebook-fake-election-news-more-popular-than-real-news-buzzfeed-investigation/
Tandoc, E. C., Lim, Z. W. & Ling, R. (2018). Defining “Fake news” A typology of scholarly definitions. Digital Journalism, 6(2), 137-153. doi:10.1080/21670811.2017.1360143