If there is one thing that has caught the attention of the world and has put the future of journalism on the line, it is fake news. In the history of journalism, it is only now that it is under this kind threat to the point that its continued survival is at stake.
For this reason, Media Freedom International seeks to determine the various issues responsible for the rise of fake news and what can be done to mitigate it and protect journalism. In this particular blog, the aim is simply to look at the factors that caused its rise.This is a multi-part article that will trace the rise of fake news, the current initiatives being done and what each of us as individuals can do.
First off, fake news started to become known and gained traction in connection with the U.S. presidential election. Note, however, that to say that fake news only started in 2016 is in itself fake news. This is because there have been a lot of instances of deliberately misleading and false information that has been in the public sphere for centuries, even before the actual start of journalism as a profession.
But the thing is, fake news seemed to have morphed into such a big scale because of the Internet and social media, which made it easier to share news in a cheap and convenient way, and at such a massive scale. By creating blog sites and dropping links on social media, fake news could be disseminated instantly, to a large number of people. This is further compounded by the fact that the algorithms of Google, Facebook and Twitter is somewhat friendly to fake news, allowing its immediate propagation among networks and groups of people.