Too good to be true? Ever mistakenly share a story that was a hoax? Social media has been filled with fake news this election season. The increase in the number of fake news stories, sites dedicated to them, and the sharing of this content were the focus of several recent BBC News stories.
The production of fake news has become a business of its own, as BBC News explored in Factually Challenged. The radio report introduces us to some of the people who are deliberately creating fake content and passing it off as real news. With so many people getting their news via social media, it’s imperative that news consumers are aware of the extent of this problem.
I was interviewed for a related BBC News article on this topic, The Rise and Rise of Fake News. I discussed how journalists are also being duped into sharing fake news. Some journalists aren’t spending the time to verify and authenticate content found on social media, particularly photos and videos from people at the scene of a news story. My recent study of U.S. television stations’ social media practices shows a third of stations had reported information from social media that later was revealed to be false or inaccurate.
Part of the problem is that some newsrooms lack guidance on determining what the real deal is when it comes to social media content. In the study, nearly 40% of TV news managers said their editorial policies did not include guidelines on how to verify information from social media, even though using content from social media has become a routine practice.
Media Interviews About Fake News
The Rise and Rise of Fake News
Live Interview About Fake News and the U.S. Presidential Election
BBC Radio 4 (interview at 11 minutes in)
‘We’re Living in a Post-Fact Era’
BBC Radio 4
Fake News Fooling Millions
The New York Times Upfront
The Day After Trump’s Victory
Deutsche Welle News (Germany)