Rumors, misinformation and fake news: Craig Silverman says he helped popularize the term “fake news” and now regrets it.
Silverman and colleagues published an analysis of 50 of the biggest fake news hits on Facebook in 2017.
“This highlights the challenge faced by Facebook to find ways to halt or arrest the spread of completely false stories on its platform, and raises questions about how much progress has been made in fighting this type of misinformation.”
Facebook “remains the home of massively viral hoaxes,” says Silverman.
Fake news might have proved more interesting to readers than the factual stuff.
This sobering thought has churned angst over whether social-media falsehoods contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential victory, not to mention whether the upset win could have been foreseen.
News consumers tend to believe reports that support their personal beliefs — an effect that psychologists call confirmation bias. People like to believe they’re right. In the election run-up, they clicked their way across the internet to prove it.
As President-elect Trump selects the people who’ll help him govern, observers are picking through the rubble trying to understand the forces behind a Republican victory. Here our concern is news-media accuracy and ethics.
Let’s start with something basic. What is fake news?
“Pure fiction,” says Jackie Spinner, assistant professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, appearing on WTTW-Channel 11 in Chicago in a “Chicago Tonight” program devoted to separating fact from fiction in internet news feeds.
“It’s something made up,” adds Spinner. “It’s fake.”