Internet Social Media

What Is Fake News and How Does It Spread So Quickly?

Joel Lee 28-12-2016

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 10 Tips to Avoid (Spreading) Fake News During a Crisis Here's how to avoid fake news and how you can stop spreading fake news on social media. Read More .


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 Faking It: 8 Of The Best Spoof News Websites Keeping up with the news of the day, whether it be local, national, or international, is important. It's never good to bury your head in the sand, unaware of what is happening around you. However,... Read More .)

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 instead of (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.


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!

Image Credit: via Shutterstock

Related topics: Fake News, Web Trends.

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  1. Lynda Fowler
    February 28, 2019 at 9:22 am

    I have found that people do not care that fake news is being promoted as long as it serves their agenda .They are perfectly content to engage in this behavior because fact checking would then be discredited as more fake news their surpreme commander had told them to expect.A shame really,truth used to mean something...

  2. Mike Cornelison
    May 18, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Fake news is ABC-NBC-CBS-PBS-NPR-CNN-MSNBC running non-stop propaganda. All of those networks hate Trump just as blindly as the North Korean networks love Dear Leader.

  3. Genen
    December 30, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    I can't believe you'd reference MSNBC as real news. I don't trust any of the MSM to give the whole story, but at least I'll occasionally watch FOX and CNN. MSNBC is just terrible.

  4. Howard A Pearce
    December 28, 2016 at 11:01 am

    What is not even touched upon is how fake news is determined.
    The screams of importance imply someone is looking for some authoritarian solution that will determine what is fake or not for us - and no doubt "filter" out this fake communication for us.

    A real danger to our frreedom of speech and press by those who love the state to solve all our problems - like the fascists at MUD