Fake news stories seem to keep popping up on our screens more and more frequently but does social media have a part to play in this or not?
During the US elections it seemed there was an epidemic of counterfeit articles circulating over multiple websites. The Denver Guardian for example, was revealed to be a hoax news outlet among many, which flooded Facebook with published articles about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The anti-Hillary story “FBI agent suspected in Hillary Email leaks found dead in apparent murder suicide,” reached over one thousand shares on Facebook back in November.
A story by the New York Times revealed that Italian Prime minister, Matteo Renzi suggested fake news stories surrounding social media may well have influenced the country’s referendum last week. Others have proposed political parties are using social media platforms as a weapon, injecting misleading information to the public to determine an unfair result.
Buzzfeed recently revealed that a group of teenagers from a small town in Macedonia published other false stories regarding the US election as a way of making money. Some of the young Macedonians are reported to make over one thousand pounds per day.
Social media has made it a lot easier for anyone, anywhere to post random content online but “fake journalism is by know means new, fake journalism goes back decades.”