News is an essential part of our lives. We come to know what is happening in our surroundings, in our nation or even in the world in today’s day only through the news. News holds power to connect the world in a thread. The mediums used to broadcast all the news are either online social media or offline media houses.
But what makes me concerned is the misuse of the power of journalism. Fake news, widely called as junk news, pseudo-news, alternative facts or hoax news, preach misinformation deliberately to confuse or mislead the viewers or readers and create a situation of utter mayhem. The traditional media portals or online social media somehow get engaged to distort information for the purpose of their publicity or profit. And even, yellow journalism has increased after social media has been introduced in the world of journalism to promote the news. It is observable that the misinformations get the limelight or popularity because they are made of the spices people wait to eat without giving a second thought.
Intention behind Creating Fake News:
Fake news is usually written and published by any of the media portals to promote vague conception among masses, to mislead or to damage any agency, other media houses, or person, any political leader or party, to gain financial profit etc. They are more often used in support of a party which portray themselves as biased sources working against other parties. These fake news use sensational, dishonest or over-decorated headlines to increase readership. Sometimes, they are paid for such activities from higher authorities.
Types and Examples of Fake News :
The type of news, found in traditional news or social media, has no basis in fact but is presented as being actually accurate is the basic definition of Fake News.There are seven types of fake news:
- Satire or parody: When the fake news fools people without the intention to harm.
- False Connection: When headlines, visuals or captions do not match with the content.
- Misleading Content: When the content of the fake news is used to misguide people and to create an issue or an individual.
- False Context: When the real news or genuine content is shared with a piece of incorrect contextual information.
- Imposter Content: When genuine content is imitated and shared with false sources.
- Manipulated Content: When authentic information is manipulated to deceive.
- Fabricated Content: When the newly produced content is inaccurate, designed to mislead and fabricated to bring peril.
With the inadequate news, there are also 3 types of information we find to mislead us :
- Mis-information: The false information that is circulated without any intent to harm.
- Dis-information: The extremely distorted information that is shared to do harm.
- Mal-information: The circulation of ‘genuine’ data with the intent to cause damage.
The fake news that leads social media has some specific examples. As per their views, they are defined as :
- Clickbait: They are the contents which are made to attract attention and excite visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.
- Propaganda: It is one kind of an advertisement or information which is biased in nature and promotes misleading information to support a political party or issue or a point of view.
- Satire/Parody: A satire is a form of literature or performing arts that are usually used to hold up vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings to ridicule or criticise with the intent of shaming individuals, governments, political parties, any authorities or society for its betterment. The form of satire is humorous, but the intention is social criticism. A parody is, in general, an imitative work that uses the skeleton or base of original work to add its own comedic elements that thrive towards either emphasising the flaws of the original work or trivialising it and in some cases both.
- Sloppy Journalism: Sloppy means messy, slushy, imprecise or incomplete. As per the name, sloppy journalism circulates incomplete or imperfect information about the news content.
- Misleading Headings: A misleading heading or a misleading headline is something absolutely different from the content of news or information. The differences can be either subtle or overt.
- Biased or Slanted news: Social media, being the primary platform of biased news circulates some news which supports a certain party or authority or any religion and discriminates the opposition to prove the liability of its source. Some traditional media houses are even paid to spread biased or slanted news.
HOW FAKE NEWS CREATE PANDEMONIUM :
- Fake news creates confusion among the masses.
- It provides wrong information and misleads us.
- It is the reason for many unnecessary debates.
- Some politically influenced news creates social media war among people.
- Fake news containing religious facts create more significant issues sometimes.
- Fake news distorts the aura of genuine contents.
- It doesn’t have any liable materials in it.
- Fake news is one kind of crime as it also prevents the growth of a nation.
- Circulating false news to gain popularity proves how much we have lost our brain.
- It is no doubt a threat to the citizens of a country.
STEPS TO BE TAKEN TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF FAKE NEWS :
- We need to consider the source to understand its purpose.
- We need to read beyond the headline to know the entire story.
- We need to check the author to review their liability and credibility
- We need to assess the supporting sources.
- We need to check the date of publication to prove if the story is proper and up to date.
- We need to ask if it is a joke to come into a conclusion if the content is a satire.
- We need to review our own biases.
- We need to ask experts to get confirmation from any of the knowledgeable and independent people.
Fake news, be it anything is never acceptable to protect the liability and loyalty of the broadcast media. The misinformations which get spread in the social media are responsible to create issues and catalyse vague thoughts in our mind. Our mission should always be protesting against the spread of fake news, and this is not the job of a single person. We all are equally responsible for protecting the transparency of the media to maintain the strength of our nation. This journey will keep on going until and unless we wash away all the injustice and win the war against the fake news. Let’s take an oath for a trustable news source and build a nation free of any malice.