A man walked into a pizzeria with a gun because of a story about how Hillary Clinton was running a child trafficking ring out of there. A doctor coming back from Sierra Leone after helping with the Ebola crisis was displaced after a story came out about her having Ebola. These are some examples how fake news has affected people's lives. This article also talks about people's inability to recognise jokes, sarcasm or satire in stories.
NPR backtracked a fake news article to try to find the original source. They picked a fake story about how the FBI agent investigating Hillary Clinton's emails was found dead. The original source looked real and even had local weather. The owner of the site was interviewed about why he created fake news. To him it started as a joke, to see how much people would believe. It then turned into a job that he could make a living out of.
Snopes was started in 1994 by a professional writer and researcher, David Mikkelson. It is a fact checking websites that serves to reveal the truth. It has been reviewed well and had won awards for its truth seeking. Snopes has had articles published in textbooks from the U.S. and Canada.
Ever looked at an article and couldn't tell if it was real or not? Experts share tips on how to determine the facts. They include looking at the URL and reading the About Us section on a website. From there you can look at the quotes and who said them.
Political cartoons by Rob Rogers, member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. The cartoon shows a man on his phone with a USA sweatshirt falling blindly into a hole called fake news. This represents the fake news on the internet that people are believing. It is also a really big problem now and in the U.S.
Writer Elizabeth Kolbert analyses different studies don't to determine why people don't always listen to to facts and reason. She looked into "confirmation bias" about how we gravitate towards news that confirm our opinions and reject news that we don't share the same idea about. She found that providing the facts don't seem to matter.
Stephanie Busari is a reporter and editor for CNN. She traveled to Nigeria to report on the kidnapping of the Chibok girls by Boko Haram. On April 14, 2014, the terrorist organization Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, Nigeria. As a journalist covering the story from the beginning, Busari saw and heard the amount of people saying that the kidnapping was a hoax. She believes that this affected the rescue of the girls.
NPR interviewed Craig Silverman of BuzzFeed News who has spent years studying media inaccuracy. He explains how false stories during the presidential campaign were spread on Facebook and monetized by Google AdSense. During the 2016 election, he looked at the stories that did well and were widely shared. He looked into where they came from and a large number came from Eastern European countries. Interviews with some site owners reveled money was the deciding factor.
Google and Facebook may be trying to tackle the problem of fake news, but it is also up to the individual to keep themselves informed. Daniel Levitin also talks about the idea of belief preservation, clinging to an old belief. Levitin says that to fight fake news and think more critically, people need to have humility. They need to be open minded enough to want to learn something new.
George Orwell talked about political fake news in a 1946 essay. He says how politicians talk in a way that makes lies sound truthful. Business Insider looked into why people believe those lies. The first is cognitive simplicity. Once we understand something we mark it as true. The second is cognitive dissonance. If we see two conflicting stories and one lines up with our opinion, we choose that to believe. That leads to the backfire effect. It is harder to change someone's mind completely. The last is tribal unity, where we stick with our group and their beliefs.