Why fake news enriches our lives

by | 6 Mar 2018

The Fake News Series #3

Ever since Donald Trump’s first year in office, fake news is one of the most inflationary used terms. Typing fake news in Google results in 74 million findings. Outside the media, fake news is positioned as a black sheep and often cited as the reason for people’s distrust in the credibility of most media sources. Contrary to the common tongue, I take a positive side and present three lessons that we can draw from fake news.

 

First, simple access to open sources makes media consumers more aware of the simplicity of spreading news in a globalised, connected world

I made viral fake news for $200 and it was stupidly easy

The Redditers David Fredrick and Aidan King once more illustrate how easy it is to spread (fake) news all over the globe. In their YouTube clip they explain, how to get on top of one of the biggest news sites (Reddit) in the United States and reach out to millions of subscribers – with less than $200. Scary hmm? Yes it is!

However, with their video David and Aidan raise awareness about the importance of critically assess and access information. More importantly, this video informs about the threat of misinformation and invites people to think about their own information seeking and processing behavior. Watch the complete story:

Secondly, being aware is not enough

We have to experience the pitfall of misinformation and fake news to change our behavior. In his published article at Forbes, Jay McGregor highlights the positive side effect of fake news. In his words, fake news

will be a historical point of reference for a society that needed an important conversation about journalism, facts, social media and critical analysis.

After being duped by media, more and more people start to awaken their critical thinking skills. More importantly, they start acknowledging the need for high quality journalism and informative media.

 

Thirdly, we start seeking more critically for information ourselves

In her critical blog post on Facebook and Journals, Angela Cochran ends with a quote of Martin Baron, Executive Editor of the Washington Post:

People will ultimately gravitate toward sources of information that are truly reliable, and have an allegiance to telling the truth. People will pay for that because they’ll realize they’ll need to have that in our society.

 

Critical thinking and information literacy

Conspiracy and misconception due to false information raise awareness about the societal impact of fake news. These experiences lead to a societal claim on critically assessed information in the media. Critical thinking and information literacy are more needed than ever in order to access reliable information and knowledge.

 

Your comment is welcome

What did you learn from recent discussions about fake news? Leave a comment or share the post!

 

Further reading: Critical thinking and fake news 

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