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I am going to talk about my advocacy for the Proliferation of Fake News. Before we begin with the talk proper, I am from a country in Asia which is the Philippines, wherein according to research conducted by Universal McCann, it stated that Filipinos are the most frequent users of ...

various social media platforms where we can have access to view fake news online.

Well, Fake News? Is this a new thing to you, particularly today wherein we are in a technology-laden world?

I also admit that I am also a victim of fake news. The reason why I am a victim of fake news is that when I read a post, it’s either I get excited or shocked by it and this leads me to be deceived and manipulated by it. Being deceived by fake news because whenever I see a post, I do not think at first what to do. I do not think critically to determine whether this is real or not. Who are the victims of fake news? Raise your hands if you were.

According to Parikh, Patil, et.al, of the University of Albany in the USA, Fake news is defined as any visual form that is designed to change people’s perceptions in any aspect. In legal terms according to the Journal of Internet Law, fake news is also called rumors, misinformation, lies, etc.; They also mean to publish news into different social media platforms whether it is for-profit or for publicity. Also, according to Bakir and McStay (2017), fake news is defined as something that is entirely false and the content has misleading concepts. This is timely nowadays since we are living in a technology-laden society wherein we can either post or read the news without noticing if it is real or not.

Fake news nowadays is a threat in our society since it can be detrimental in many aspects not just for seeking information but also through political and economic views. Through the political aspect, it is detrimental through damaging the reputation of a certain candidate or public servant whether it is an election or not. This also has been a campaign strategy in elections wherein teams of certain candidates spread fake news to destroy their rival’s reputations and identities.

According to a former Sunday Times correspondent (Lees,2018), Donald Trump, the current president of the United States, calls attention to the opposition journalists by saying “fake news” in order to insult them. It is not only in the United States where fake news is an alarming issue, but also globally in the global political arena. The current president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte would accuse journalists who are against his administration of “reporting bullshit”. That is why fake news is called a “global silencer” because if journalists would disseminate information that is against the country’s current administration, the head of state would go the extra mile just to silence them by imprisoning them and the worst case killing them.

According to Shao, et.al (2017), there is also a major role in disseminating fake news which is social bots. Social bots are defined as agents in software-controlled profiles or pages that are published through high volumes. Are you also curious about how fake news is disseminated? According to a study entitled “Fake News and the Economy of Emotions”, fake news evolved through this called “Machine-Learning Algorithm”. So how are you curious about what it means? This is defined as it prioritizing what and where do you engage in social media. For example, if you engage through liking posts or comments. Also, what group do you belong to which would depend on who are you, friends, on Facebook? Lastly, what type of content is Facebook’s priority which would depend on what do you engage in social media.

According to a faculty member of a prominent medical school in London (Shimizu,2020); It is not in the political arena where fake news is alarming, but it is also through seeking knowledge about the ongoing pandemic which is COVID-19. Since the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic started in China, this has led to the media disseminated some fake news about the Chinese people and diaspora in general which had led to discrimination against them because they are from the origin. Also, another issue about fake news regarding COVID-19 is about the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics if it is going to be suspended or not. As this pandemic is happening currently, the media industry and the front liners involved should communicate with each other so that they could disseminate information that is accurate about the disease. Through effective communication between the two parties, would lessen the fear, anxiety, and panic of people because of this ongoing pandemic.

It is also not only when you seek information about the ongoing pandemic where fake news is found, but also in the entertainment industry, fake news can be seen. According to Klein and Mueller (2017) a famous film studio that is known worldwide which is the 20th Century Fox disseminated fake news to the public in order to promote a certain film by using hashtags so that they could reach out to the public. That is the reason why fake news garnered audience impact through various media platforms rather than news that speak the truth because people would just read the post itself rather than check if it is real or not.

According to Beckett (2017) from the London School of Economics, in the milieu of journalism and the media industry, the best thing that happened in our society nowadays is fake news. What would run into your mind right now would say, how could it be the best thing nowadays? It is because for the journalists who are writing to disseminate the truth and what is right through news it serves as their wake-up call to be more vigilant on the most important issue that we must face. It also taught them to be more transparent on how they deliver the news, they should disseminate accurate information to the masses so that people would not be manipulated by it.

Fake news is the best thing that happened in our society. Sadly, this doesn’t comply with all who are involved in the dissemination of fake news. If fake news has positive effects for journalists and media alike, think twice. Fake news has its negative effects that can be harmful in our society, people can be sued legally no matter what country they are from. According to the Journal of Internet Law, violators can be charged through defamation which is defined as destroying a person’s reputation through false statements whether it is spoken or written.

Fake news is an age-old problem that is happening until now. We may not stop the dissemination of fake news because people would still find a way to spread them. Even though we have received some media literacy education, this may not solve the whole issue itself if we do take our part as critical thinkers when we read the news. We should always be vigilant in every piece of information that we are sharing online or not. We should not bring chaos and misinformation to other people by simply sharing fake news. We can be responsible by being attentive and careful in everything we do. May we all learn from everyone’s mistakes and may we become responsible citizens of this world. Together, we can treat this issue! Thank you so much for listening to my advocacy and remember to do your part as responsible members of our society.

Sources:

  1. Albright, J. (2017). Welcome to the Era of Fake News. Media and Communication, 5(2), 87. doi: 10.17645/mac.v5i2.977
  2. Bakir, V., & McStay, A. (2017). Fake News and The Economy of Emotions. Digital Journalism, 6(2), 154–175. doi:10.1080/21670811.2017.1345645
  3. Beckett, Charlie (2017) ‘Fake news’: the best thing that’s happened to journalism. POLIS: journalism and society at the LSE (11 Mar 2017). http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/76568.
  4. Brazil, L., Duque, G., & San Antonio, D. N. (2017, June). A Correlational Study on Social Media Involvement and … Retrieved March 2020, from https://www.dlsu.edu.ph/wp-content/uploads/pdf/conferences/research-congress-proceedings/2017/WCF/WCFE-II-001.pdf
  5. Klein, D. O., & Wueller, J. R. (2017, April 26). Fake News: A Legal Perspective. Retrieved March 2020, from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2958790
  6. Lees, C. (2018). Fake news: the global silencer: The term has become a useful weapon in the dictator’s toolkit against the media. Just look at the Philippines. Index on Censorship, 47(1), 88–91. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306422018769578
  7. Parikh, S. B., Patil, V., & Atrey, P. K. (2019). On the Origin, Proliferation and Tone of Fake News. 2019 IEEE Conference on Multimedia Information Processing and Retrieval (MIPR). doi: 10.1109/mipr.2019.00031
  8. Pérez-Rosas, Verónica & Kleinberg, Bennett & Lefevre, Alexandra & Mihalcea, Rada. (2019). Automatic Detection of Fake News. https://arxiv.org/abs/1708.07104
  9. Shao, Chengcheng & Ciampaglia, Giovanni & Varol, Onur & Flammini, Alessandro & Menczer, Filippo. (2017). The spread of fake news by social bots. https://www.andyblackassociates.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/fakenewsbots.pdf
  10. Shimizu, K. (2020, February 11). 2019-nCoV, fake news, and racism – The Lancet. Retrieved March 2020, from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30357-3/fulltext?dgcid=hubspot_email_newsletter_tlcoronavirus20&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8MK63PZ0J14xow2HfNBJ8Cdko0A5zjar5NTJgkSk2xxM4-4osWvl9QgcMgPHWhjjyJlvZHk0XWe7nAf22aS-JeZKN2BoTRkWcLhFNdqCpG-EFaoek&_hsmi=83462912
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