Fake News | Ways To Stop It In The Digital Era

1
90
Photo : To Inform is to Influence

The news media diplomacy has greatly evolved and changed over the past decades with the progress discerning from beginning days of traditional printing press to the ever changing “Cyber Space” .The influential power and social responsibility of news media in providing awareness of the current events around the world and to communicate the correct information is exceptional. Essentially news media should report the news which is accurate and writer’s opinion should not affect reader’s opinion. The digital platforms have enabled innovative journalistic practices that enable novel form of communication with extended global reach. The print of news on paper is nearly becoming obsolescence as electronic media has improved the ability to cover and deliver the news faster. The power of electronic news allows the readers with increase reach of news. In this growing trend of news media, the question we need to ask ourselves is to what extent the news we read and hear is true?

Today’s news media has reached a state of uncertainty with fake news accelerating and affecting the way public interpret current events. The term fake news is all-over and the news media have become more contradicting with sheer decline in public trust. The Cambridge English dictionary defines it as “false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke “.   Researchers have proved that online fake news can spread much faster and much wider than real news. The amount of fake news that is spread over internet is staggering. In digital world, viewers have limited attention and it appears as though fake news is more engaging to readers. When viewers see news from certain source, they are more likely to be influenced by the material rather than fact checking. The trending topics of fake news are politics, government policies, religion and various scams.

With number of fake news stories shared per day and increased view, readers are annoyed by disinformation. The speed of internet is still making it worse. The intent of fake news is to deceive public to harm an entity or person and or to have financial or political gain. Fake news has a major negative impact on the society and on individual mindset and has the ability to affect public opinion. It can have an impact at local, national and global level. Fake news has a greater impact on democratic nation like ours. There are lots of fake news where its legitimacy cannot be identified and people tend not to care about the truth. With presupposition and biases, readers pick the information which confirms their own view rather than grasping the truth. Viewers are not fact checking these news and are filled with untrue information. Fake news might cause public to be confused about the real facts and the purpose of the media. Public is increasingly skeptical of the news they read and hear.

Fake news possess serious threat to journalism and undermines serious media coverage. It may even have political impact and people can even use the fake news to justify the violence, thus leading to serious threat to democracy, harmony and diversity of a nation. Addressing the issue without undermining the benefits of news media is important. It is important that government and business along with the readers work together to solve these issues.

 Government should encourage news literacy in the society. Individual and Professional journalism practices should be promoted. High quality journalism should be a must pattern to be followed. A self-governing body under the government can be established to which people can report the fake news. It will play the role of a controller by identifying and labelling fake news. It should also reduce the ability of fake news going viral. People should be able to report the fake news to this autonomous body. Government should set regulations to control fake news. The platforms which report the news should be made liable for fake news.

Assessing the authenticity of news is a complex process as described by technological companies. The application of technology can suppress fake news and its impact. Fake news detection can be automated using machine algorithms. Artificial Intelligence can be leveraged to curb the fake news. The research is being done on how systems can evaluate how well a post’s text or a headline, compares with actual content of an article someone is sharing online. Artificial Intelligence could also possibly examine similar articles to see whether any other news media have contradicting facts. Unbiased fact checking websites should spread awareness against rumors and present hard facts relating to the fake news reported.

Online accountability is to be strengthened through stronger policies against fake accounts. Internet users should provide identity to the hosting platform. This makes it easier to hold individuals accountable for what they post online and also stops people from hiding behind fake news when they make offensive comments. Cyber security should be strengthened to monitor news circulating online and tackle fake news. Social media sites could voluntarily decide to label their content, showing clearly the legitimacy of the news.

The debate of curbing “fake” news continues at the center of information and causing the “real” damage.  We spread lies faster that could have serious impact on nation, individuals and our future. The best way to combat the spread of fake news depends on people. Individuals should follow a diversity of new sources and question what they read and watch. When someone sees an uncertain post, the person should investigate the information rather than sharing it immediately. Solutions to combat fake news and disinformation should not endanger freedom of expression. Technology and Human partnership is the solution to draw fake news to close.

 

Author BioSindhu Rani from Hassan .She is the winner of Monthly International Essay Contest (above 18 years category), organized by #Monomousumi, month of January,2019.She won a Trophy , e-Certificate and Gift Vouchers sponsored by Wanderquest and GrabOn.

 

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here