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If you paid even an inkling of attention to this year’s election cycle, you’ve probably heard all about “fake news this” and “fake news that”. In fact, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, you’ve probably encountered a bunch of it without even realizing it.
Fake news, also called hoax news, is content that’s deliberately misleading in order to accomplish two things: drive web traffic and push propaganda. It could be the headline itself or the entire article that’s misleading, but either way the key goal is to push misinformation on the web. (Which is what distinguishes it from normal satire websites.)
It’s not a recent phenomenon, of course, but frequency and severity have really ramped up over the past year or two. It’s gotten to the point where we’re starting to see fake news stories about other fake news stories.
Again, this is happening across the entire political spectrum. If you don’t think this is a serious problem, then we’d like to point you to a new website called Hoaxy, which is a search engine created by Indiana University that tracks fake news as it spreads across the internet.
The real problem is that most social media users are too quick to share links. They don’t double-check the source, so they don’t realize that they just shared a news story from MSNBC.website instead of MSNBC.com (for example).
To use Hoaxy, just search for a specific term or topic (such as “pizzagate”) and it will return all of the related fake news articles being tracked. You can then visualize those articles, seeing which social media users spread them to whom and how viral the article was over time.
The only way around this, at least right now, is to do your own fact checking when you hear an outrageous claim. We recommend these fact-checking sites and apps to help you with that.
Website — Hoaxy
Do you recall any fake news stories that you came across recently? How do you feel about this whole phenomenon? Share your thoughts with us down in the comments!
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