People are increasingly using the internet to keep informed and share millions of posts, articles, and videos across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The fast popularity of social media has resulted in an increase in user information-sharing, with bogus news becoming a part of our digital daily routines. Misinformation is transmitted in part because social media platforms fail to check the validity of a news article. This makes it simple to transmit photographs and movies that appear to be real but have been expertly modified. Misinformation has long been acknowledged to have a considerable impact on public opinion and debate.


The phrase “fake news” refers to stories, photographs, and videos that are transmitted with the intent of intentionally spreading disinformation, i.e. material that is factually false. These news pieces may look genuine at first glance and are intended to draw attention, shock, or shape opinions.

Misinformation is typically driven by personal, political, or economic goals.

The spreading of fabricated news in order to influence public opinion on specific issues is not a new occurrence. Since the advent of print media, sensational headlines and political articles have been used to promote misinformation and propaganda. Fake news has become more of an online phenomenon that is difficult to manage in the age of digital information transmission.


The kinds of fake news that exist


These are four common types of fake news:

  1. Targeted misinformation: False information given for self-serving purposes. Targeted disinformation is frequently intended towards groups that are most vulnerable to absorbing it and readily accept and disseminate divisive news without checking its veracity.
  2. Fake headlines: Headlines that display bogus facts in order to attract attention. Less trustworthy periodicals, such as tabloid newspapers, frequently use these. The article’s content frequently does not correspond with the headline. Their titles are known as “clickbait headlines.”
  3. Viral posts: There is a flood of new articles and information on social media networks. As a result, users frequently fail to take the effort to verify postings. Because major social networks value shares, likes, and followers, popular posts appear more frequently in a user’s feed – even if the material is false.
  4. Satire: Satirical news combines current events and news pieces with imaginary, and sometimes ludicrous, happenings. Satire is frequently used to bring attention to social concerns or to condemn governmental malfeasance. However, there is always the risk that the hilarious elements go undiscovered and the pieces are accepted as factual.


What you should do:

  • Check the sender – verify the social media profile of a sender before you share a post. A new social media account with few friends/followers sharing sensational content could point to a social bot or internet troll.
  • How old is their social media account?
  • Does the account have a blue verification mark?
  • How many followers and friends does the account have?
  • Which types of content are predominantly shared?
  • Verify photos and videos – visual content can be quickly taken out of context
  • Check the imprint or authors – some websites contain imprints or information on copyright and authors. If this type of information is missing you should not trust the source of shared content.
  • Check the URL – sometimes the only difference is a hyphen or the domain ending such as .net instead of .com.


The threat fake news poses on society

The World Wide Web, once lauded as a democratic medium, has earned a terrible reputation for information dependability. This is due to the fact that anybody may generate, distribute, and modify information on the internet. Additionally, with an increasing number of people relying on internet media as their primary source, false news poses a significant concern. On the one hand, democracy thrives because knowledge is freely available and helps us grasp political, sociological, and economic links. Fake news, on the other side, encourages mistrust and critical thinking and impedes talks or dispute resolution.