“Fake news” originally referred to late night TV programming such as The Daily Show or SNL. Now the term refers to articles written with the sole purpose of spreading false stories in the hope that they go viral and gain ad revenue.
Here is a brief timeline of the most recent events surrounding Fake News:
- May 9, 2016: News story titled, “Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News” runs on Gizmodo
- August 24, 2016: John Herrman details Facebook’s “plague of ideologically- themed pages,” causing the platform to fire its entire editorial team
- October 12, 2016: The Washington Post publishes the result of an experiment claiming that Facebook had made several fake news articles go trending after firing its editors
- November 9, 2016: Max Reed reports that Facebook enabled Trump’s victory due to its inability to address the real problem of fake news
- December 10, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump tweeted at CNN calling them “FAKE NEWS”
The largest threat that fake news poses to journalism right now is the fact that it has gained so much attention Senator Claire McCaskill said in an interview with the New York Times (NYT). She also said that letting fake news gain so much traction was partially the medias fault.
Hope for the profession, as the NYT puts it, may come from the rising value of real news in response to the explosion of fake news, however it is still too early to tell what exactly is going to happen.
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Rutenberg, J. (2016, November 06). Media’s Next Challenge: Overcoming the Threat of Fake News. Retrieved March 07, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/business/media/medias-next-challenge-overcoming-the-threat-of-fake-news.html
Gendreau, H. (2017, February 25). The Internet Made ‘Fake News’ a Thing-Then Made It Nothing. Retrieved March 01, 2017, from https://www.wired.com/2017/02/internet-made-fake-news-thing-made-nothing/