Social media advertises fake news

By S. Adamo

Silicon Tech magazine reported last month that over 634 million of Facebook’s users have fallen victim to fake news scams. 

Many feel that it is a victimless crime, but according to a 2017-2018 statistics report released by the Center for Digital Crime Statistics, misinformation affects 75% of people’s health and 83% of their finances. 

Paragraphs, like the previous ones, are filled with falsehoods. 

Fake news works because it looks and sounds like real news. 

It fits the design of your favorite social media platform (or newspaper), regardless of its origins.

A lot of fake news is spread by trolls who are usually doing it for fun, to harass or to just make easy money. 

Trolling is no longer “a art,” it is a big business. 

When the Internet Research Agency in Russia sought to create discord in our political environment, the New York Times reported in 2018 that they did so while earning $2,500 a month; which is what a $15-an-hour part-time job plays. 

Employees of the Russian troll farm, Internet Research Agency, were paid to write untrue articles— riddled with falsehoods and over-exaggerations— in order to promote a specific agenda. 

What is the opposite side of the truth, fake news? 

Are journalists required to report falsehoods just because people in power repeat them? 

Newspapers and news companies are being purchased by large corporations and less money is being allocated to covering local news. 

For example, many of the newspapers close to this area used to be in two groups: Los Angeles News Group and San Gabriel Valley News Group, which included multiple newspapers including the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and the Los Angeles Daily News. 

Today, both groups have merged into the “Southern California News Group” and are now owned by Digital First Media, which is the business name of MNG Enterprises, Inc, owned by Alden Global Capital. Broadcast news seems to be even more confusing. 

When big business buys a bunch of smaller newspapers, most jobs are consolidated into a centralized location—editing and creating graphics in-house and sending out the finished product to affiliates all across the country. 

When communities across the United States differ dramatically, one size doesn’t fit all. 

With so much money being put into news companies and little money going to pay journalists (and other related fields) to do the work, this has created a vacuum for trolls and liars to thrive on the internet. 

With more people getting their news from sites like Facebook— even legitimate news outlets will only show up on your timeline based on an algorithm tailored to your reading habits. 

Wouldn’t you want to see the whole story without influence? 

When we get angry at articles designed to make us feel that way, we’re reassuring this industry that demand is there. 

Big Media speaks on our behalf, but rarely has our best interest in mind.

With fake news, you get all the sensations of reading a news article without any of the nutrients. 

When people educate themselves about misinformation, they are less vulnerable to “fake news.”

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