Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fake News, ya gotta love it!

So, why does fake news do so well? It's the fact that we're always looking for things that tend to support our world view. When the fake news does that, it tends to get very little critical verification, if any at all.

When a believer sees the news, the first thing they want to do is share it. After all, they'll tend to get likes from the other fanatics that they tend to friend -- you know, those with similar world views. And, as we all know, popularity is all that counts. Well, that and speed. Everyone, even the mainstream media seems to sacrifice accuracy for speed. In the Internet world, it seems to be more important to be first rather than factual.

...and let's talk about algorithms. You know those bits of code that want to arrange what we see by popularity rather than merit or even truth. Yeah, it's even better if you're first and also at the top of the page. How do you get to the top of the page? By being popular, by having more links pointing to you. And, if you support my world view, hey, let me send you to more friends.

So what do we do about it? Put down that selfie stick and apply some healthy skepticism to everything you read. Just because it's at the top of your stream or promoted or came from one of your friends, question it. It's a lot like those e-mails that, "if you don't send to 50 friends will cause your nose to fall off..." Just don't do it. Even if it is something that support your deepest held views, take some time to check it out. We all need to do our parts. HEY! media sites of all types, this means you also.

We all need to do our parts to stop fake news from spreading. After all, if not us, who?