Rise of online misinformation and fake news asserting policy reforms

Traditional ways of news sources have been replaced by the internet sources and online social media platforms since the last few years. Internet platforms offer people a new way of sharing and consuming information and news. More than 4.9 billion people around the world are using the internet today which is nearly 70% of the earth’s population (Statista, 2022). The huge number of audiences on the internet is setting a platform for misleading information and fake news to spread. Several websites and channels are spreading fabricated information online imitating real-world newspapers, govt. sites, and annihilate the line of trust (BBC, 2016). An article stated how information overload is influencing propagation of fake news on the internet and social media is well aware of it (Menczer, & Hills, 2020). To address this issue, this study aims to investigates how online misinformation and fabricated news are increasing and what measures can be taken to avoid such phenomenon. Vindicating the purposes, this study started discussion of fake news and misleading information from the beginning of the internet and then states how this issue has become a major concern in the recent time. The some of the recent cases of fake news and how these are affecting people are discussed. Additionally, the required enactment and measures are discussed that can be able to avert the adversity.

Online fake news is not a new issue as it arises from the previous decade. A misleading information stated that an African-American county sheriff was a member of a terrorist gang and this information reached to nearly half a million people (Garcia, & Lear, 2016). Fake news has also being used for political discrimination as a fabricated information published on the internet claiming that an political individual endorsing another for presidential selection. This news reached over 700000 people on the internet within a few hours (Rosenberg, 2016). Another fake news based on political discrimination about fraudulent ballots alleging Hillary Clinton was shared with more than 6.1 million people on the internet (Evon, 2016). On the contrary, a study stated that fake news is a new threat the world is facing (Coady, 2019). However the study also stated that it’s a growing problem that is creating new issues to the internet world. Accumulating the sources it can be stated that the rise of fake news and misinformation has initiated a long ago and with the increasing internet users and social media platforms, it has become a major concern.

Fake news started becoming a major concern since the middle of last decade where multiple cases of deceptive information caused several issues. In June of 2017, false information about the death of Vitalik Buterin has led to a market value drop by 4 billion dollars (Roberts, 2017). A study has discussed how the US election of 2016 has witnessed 156 fake stories on online news channels that influenced the voters (Allcott, & Gentzkow, 2017). It can be obtained that fake news is not only concerning any individual but also affecting the political aspects. Misleading and fabricated information also affected people during the Covid-19 situation. A study reveals that during the pandemic, disinformation alleging racial groups and unlawful immigration for virus spread (FBE, 2021). On the other hand, an article revealed that fake news is not the real problem on social media (Hutchinson, 2020). However, the study also confirms that there are misleading information that are being exaggerated and fabricated by people on the internet and attracting people’s attention. This type of misleading information affects people and indulges them in iniquitous actions.

In a recent case, a video went viral showing that a Russian plane was shot down by the Ghost of Kyiv and this video was watched by over 1.6 million twitter users (DW, 2022). Misleading information also affects individuals as another fake news article on the artist Leonardo Carpio was roaming around claiming a 10 million dollar donation to Ukraine which is his grandmother’s homeland (Dale, 2022). Fake news involving individuals is becoming a major concern as another fabricated information stated that Rupaul claimed that Trump has mistreated him once in the 1990s which reached nearly 300000 people on Facebook (Mikkelson, 2016). The increasing number of fake news and misleading information are spreading fast and attracting people’s attention. As per a survey on 376 million FB users interacting with 900 online news channel platforms, it is discovered that people get attracted to the information that matches their views despite the validity of the news story (Anderson, J., & Rainie, 2017). Another report also stated that fabricated news on the internet spread way faster than the real news on the internet platforms (Greenemeier & Scientific American, 2018). Obtaining these facts, it can be assumed that fake news gets more attention and creates problems for people around the world. A study stated that people are marking fake information sources on the internet as one of the pressing issues in recent times (Gray, 2017). This is becoming ubiquitous for the people, targeting individuals as well as concerning the governments for misleading information roaming based on political discremenations.

Additionally, a research article stated that fake news is inherently more shared compared to other news stories on social media platforms as fabricated news is more entertaining (t’Serstevens, Piccillo, & Grigoriev, 2022). Fake news is also affecting organizations and businesses around the world and big companies such as Pepsi also suffered the consequences (Riccio, J. Gibbs, 2018). Social conflict is another eventuality of misleading information that is arising in recent times (The danger of fake news…, 2022). Social media platforms as a source of news are changing the way of information sharing. In this respect, a report reveals that nearly 65 percent of people relied on several online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube rather than traditional media (Martin, 2018). Considering the facts, the concern about misleading information and fake news is affecting people and the involvement of authority and governing bodies are necessary to reduce the adversity on the internet.

 Opinion of people on misleading information by Open Knowledge Foundation is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Responding to the rise in fabricated stories on the internet is essential for the world. Banning social media platforms within the country is a wide decision that has been taken by China as they restricted accessing Facebook and Twitter years ago (Barry, 2022). An article suggested that the government and social media authorities should act together in order to combat the rise of misinformation (Diresta, 2018; Gillespie, 2017). Another report suggested that the use of algorithms in social media platforms for identifying false information is the best way to prevent the spread of fake news (Wendling, 2017). In this respect, an article stated that Facebook is taking measures to curb the spread of misleading information (Facebook taking steps, 2021). Creating regulations to control information sharing and censor content on the internet platforms is another way suggested by a study as a government agency has been established by Indonesia for monitoring news circulation and handling spread of fake news (West, 2017). Considering the information, it can be suggested that the agility of the social media platform authorities and involvement of government bodies can be effective in preventing the creation and spread of fake news and misleading information on the internet. Additionally, people also need to be aware of misleading information by checking validity of the information before sharing to public platforms.

This essay aimed to investigate the rising concern about false information and news on the internet platforms. Achieving the goal, this study analysed several facts and concluded that fake news is not a new issue as it vexed people from the previous decade. Furthermore, this study discussed and stated that people are attracted to fabricated news more than accurate news. To address the concern, this study suggested that the authorities of internet platforms and the governments should be acting together as mitigating these issues is tough and essential. Additionally this study also suggested that the awareness among people consuming news and information is more significant to prevent the spread of the misinformation.



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