Fake news stories are responsible for a lot of chaos in the United States, including violence and murder. I’m sure they have the same effect in other places.
The Wikipedia page on fake news describes it as news satire, with news satire being a form of parody. I can’t agree. Fake news sites publish their stories as fact, with no attempts at being satirical. The worst of it seems to show up on social media sites like Facebook.
Satire sites are amusing. Sure, their stories can seem to be believable at times but only idiots can’t see them for what they are. This is especially true of well-known satire sites like “The Onion“.
What’s really sad is that the mainstream media seems to generate more fake news than any other source. As Denzel Washington (an American celebrity) recently said, you’re misinformed whether you pay attention to mainstream news or not.
One of my longtime readers posted an article on how to block fake news sites on Facebook. Regardless of how you do it, it takes a bit of time, if not a bit of work.
The key is to vet stories you’re interested in, especially the sensational stories. More often than not, they’re fake. With sensational stories, you can’t afford to take anything at face value from only one or two sources. If it’s real, it’ll show up on dozens of familiar mainstream media sites.
Snopes.com is making a small fortune in debunking fake news stories. Not only do they debunk the stories on social sites, they debunk the stories passed around in e-mail forwards. In fact, there are probably more fake news stories passed around in e-mail forwards than in any other form of media.
The first story caused the deaths of police officers across the country in retaliation. The second hasn’t caused any deaths so far. One unhinged gunman fired off AR-15 rounds in a Washington, DC pizza restaurant because he believed the story. Fortunately, the bullets didn’t hit anyone.
The only way to stop these stories from being published like they’re facts is to make it illegal to do so. I honestly don’t know how something like this could be implemented but something definitely has to be done.
If a fake news story is purposely spread and someone is injured or killed because of it, the originator should be held accountable.
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