Saturday, 22nd September 2018
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There is no getting away from the fact that in this ever increasingly connected world that it is becoming much easier for interested parties to manipulate the news in ways that benefit them. Fake news has become such a part of modern parlance that it seems as if it was always this way. But it hasn't been. Fake news is the concerted effort made by concerned parties to sway and manipulate whole swathes of a particular demographic in not only believing but in acting in the way that they want them to by spinning news directed specifically at them. It became a huge topic in the American Presidential elections and it is only now being understood how important it was in the whole Brexit Referendum in Britain. It has become such a hot topic that a special commission was set up by the British Commons to look into ways of tackling fake news. The irony of it is that the results of the committee were leaked last Saturday showing once again just how much news can be spun to someone's advantage. The main result from the committee was that it should be possible to tax social media sites so that the money used can be utilised in such a way so as to tackle fake news. It also said that there should be more of an onus on social media sites to tackle the whole issue of fake news and that the issue of fake news should be taken seriously as it is a dangerous threat and is fundamentally 'anti-democratic'. The fact is that the currency has taken ground that anything you disagree with is in fact 'fake news'. That however is patently untrue. It is a belief that seems to be cynically used by politicians like Donald Trump who is only too quick to dismiss anything he dislikes as 'fake news' even when the news in question is fundamentally true.

That is the whole point of this, there is such a thing as true, or factually correct, news. The wholesale decline in not only the quantity but the quality of news since the advent of digital platforms has had a devastating effect on the quality of journalism that is out there for people to access. Now anyone with a phone and a connection to twitter is of the belief that they are a journalist and while citizen journalism certainly has it's place there is a huge difference between that and what is fact led quality journalism. What seems to be taking the place of good journalism is at best shoddily professed and poorly thought out opinion pieces.

Fake news happens because it cynically targets people who think that what they are being fed is real news rather than propaganda made for them to think and act in a certain way. Social media can certainly be a force for good but it is open to abuse and fake news is as abusive as it comes.


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