Resisting Fake News On Social Media - Short Essay

1017 words - 5 pages

McMaster University, CMST 1A03

In today's world, we get our information in multiple ways. We are no longer bound to
traditional newspapers and articles and we are no longer bound to the radio or even the
television. In fact, people nowadays get a lot of their information and their news on the internet,
mainly from various social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Though
it is convenient to obtain fast news and information from these applications, few really
questioned the truth of the information on these platforms. If you are one of those people who
question them, then you are already doing the right thing. However, if you are not suspicious of
the internet news, you would be surprised by how much fake stuff and inaccurate stuff gets
posted and spread. Remember the 2016 election in which Donald Trump won? Yes, a new study
is now saying that Trump might have won due to the fake news on social media. If indeed fake
news does exist, how do we stop believing in them and how do we stop them from getting
created or getting spread like viruses?

To begin, let's take a look at the existing situation and various existing examples of fake
news and inaccurate information. First, the study of the 2016 election finds out that back then,
the original Obama supporters all saw the fake news about Clinton on social media. The result
was that twelve percent of them believed that Clinton was in a poor health state and that Clinton
had a serious medical condition, eight percent of them believe that Trump was endorsed by Pope
Francis, and twenty percent believed that Clinton sold weapons to ISIS. Now, those who
believed in at least one of the fake news stories represented a quarter of all of Obama's voters
back in 2012 and only 45 percent of these people voted for Clinton during the 2016 election.
However, of the people who did not believe these fake stories, 89 percent of them voted for Clinton
instead. It is clear then from this example that those who did not believe the fake news made the
logical decision in most people's eyes. Ironically, the majority of people choose to believe
illogical news.

Yes, believe it or not, fake news gathers more support and more attention than actual
news. To understand this, imagine that you are back in junior school and you started rumors
about Tommy and Jenny making out, this rumor would gather the most attention. Nobody wants
to keep talking about how Jack got an A on his test again or how Emily's mother brought her
cheesecake for lunch again. Researchers find that fake news got more retweets than true
news on Twitter and spread six times faster than real news. The reason? Exactly because the
fake news is more novel than true news, just like how your junior school rumors were more
novel than actual news. Not only do real people help the spread of fake news because they find it
fresh, but there are also more than 60 million automatic bots on Facebook and 48 million ...

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