“Don’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet”
This is a famous quote that dates back a long time ago when it was first said by Abraham Lincoln. Back then it was easy to detect fake news because there wasn’t social media or people purposefully making up false stories, but over the years “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” has become an understatement in our world and in our society.
Fake news has been extremely prevalent in this past year due to politics and the recent Presidential election. The article, “Many Americans Believe Fake News Is Sowing Confusion” written by three journalists and published in Pew Research Center, states many shocking facts and statistics pertaining to fake news. An example in the article states “About two-in-three U.S. adults (64%) say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events.” This is a big reason why it was so challenging for Americans to determine what was true about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Some Americans only read or heard what they wanted to hear and were very bias depending on who they supported.
Another terrifying fact is how some people got paid to make up stories about the United States politicians during the election. Whether it was bias for Donald Trump or for Hillary Clinton, people were willing to fabricate stories and make them go viral to sway Americans beliefs and potentially affect the election.
Shockingly, the people making up stories about U.S. politics are not even from the U.S., but are from foreign countries. For example, in an article posted in NBC News, “Fake News: How a Partying Macedonian Teen Earns Thousands Publishing Lies” states that teenagers make money for posting false news in Veles, Macedonia. Dimitri who is eighteen years old and is one of many teenagers who got rich during the U.S. presidential election producing fake news for millions on social media (Alex). Dimitri says he’s earned at least $60,000 in the past six months. Whether it is morally wrong or not, Americans are the ones who got him rich by clicking on links, reading, and sharing these made up stories.
Although the fake news about our politicians may have skewed the election, there are ways to try to prevent the made up stories from spreading. One way to prevent fake news from spreading is to fact check it and confirm it is true on multiple sources. Another almost impossible way is to sustain from using social media and making these fabricated stories go viral. Even if more Americans fact check the news, we still always need to remember “don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”
Alex, Er Smith, and Vladimir Banic. “How Macedonian Teens Earn — and Spend — Thousands from Fake News.” NBCNews.com. NBCUniversal News Group, 09 Dec. 2016. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. <http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/fake-news-how-partying-macedonian-teen-earns-thousands-publishing-lies-n692451>.
Barthel, Michael, Amy Mitchell, and Jesse Holcomb. “Many Americans Believe Fake News Is Sowing Confusion.” Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project. N.p., 15 Dec. 2016. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. <http://www.journalism.org/2016/12/15/many-americans-believe-fake-news-is-sowing-confusion/>.