By: Sara Humphries

There was a time where we could only get our news from the newspaper. Then the television and radio came along, and news had contemporary ways to spread. Then our most prized possession was invented, social media. The one thing we check every morning when we wake up, the thing we use throughout the day for laughs and the idea that keeps us up at night. All the information we see must be facts, right? When it comes to politics, politicians cannot possibly lie to the public, can they?

Fake news newspaper Photo credits: Rory Cellan-Jones

We might see the end of democracy in the United States as we know it because of “fake news.” Fake news reports are not factually correct. It is put on social media with traditional news, so we believe the information is accurate. Fake news can quickly draw audiences because people want to be informed. This “news” can change their political preconceptions and worldviews on these political matters. What people do not know is that they are sharing information that isn’t true, which leads to more and more people to be misguided in politics. There is a vast amount of fake news websites out there, they imitate real-life newspapers and government propaganda sites.

President Trump “fake awards” Photo credits: TMZ

Social media advertises content to everyone based on their interests; that’s how fake news is so successful. For example, President Trump gave out “Fake News Awards,” to reporters. Awards? All they did was make errors and weak predictions. Fake news usually doesn’t lead to anything dangerous, but one time it did. It started with a rumor that sex slaves were being held under a Washington pizza restaurant. This rumor was so convincing that a man entered this family-friendly pizza restaurant with a rifle. No shots were fired and no one was hurt, but the man was arrested and has to serve jail time.

How do we know what’s real and what’s fake on the internet? We have to do more than only informing ourselves through the internet. We must take a step back and renege to the old ways of receiving information. We also need to do our research instead of reading only one article or trusting one person’s word. Fake news isn’t going anywhere, so it’s up to us to differentiate the real from the fake news.

 


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