The phrase ‘fake news’ is seemingly ever-present in today’s lexicon, but what is it meaning? This article seeks to develop a typology and definition, based on analysis of 34 academic articles that used the phrase over the past 14 years. The result is six key definitions — news satire, news parody, fabrication, manipulation, advertising and propaganda, split between the dimensions of deception and levels of facticity.

The authors present a concise but interesting introduction before going into detail with their motivation, investigation and explanation of the derived typology, with a flash of humour every so often for good measure too. Greater explanation could have been given for the choice of sample articles, since it is a very small collection in any case. It is not automatic that the research would have been better with a greater sample either, but motivating the choice and range would have been justified. Limitations generally could have been better presented.

The analysis seems relevant and interesting, in any case, and probably nothing to overtly disagree with. There is scope for the research to leave its mark, and certainly this area is ripe for future research and investigation by many disciplines. Nothing earth-shattering has been discovered, but that does not mean that those who need this sort of defining research should ignore it either.

Tandoc, Lim & Ling (2017). Defining “Fake News”. DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2017.1360143

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