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Fake news – a new danger

There have been many stories of fake news circulating both the paper and online news world recently. Is the story of fake news real or just a hoax itself?

Fake news stories are compelling to click on and have a ‘truthful’ quality to them. They flourish profusely online, where links to different websites are provided. They are particularly found on Facebook and are absorbed by a potential audience of 1.8 billion. An analysis by Buzzfeed suggests that ‘fake news stories drew more shares and engagement during the presidential campaign than (for example) The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN.’ Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg (of Facebook) denied that fake news could have helped to swing the results of the election – in Donald Trump’s favour. Controversially, they later announced that Facebook would begin to remove any “fake news” stories with ‘the help of users and outside fact-checkers’.

People don’t believe fake news because they’re stupid – the news format is easy to imitate and some stories are so exaggerated that people don’t believe that they can’t be true. Next time you read an article you’re not sure about, before you go telling everyone you meet, stop and think; is it really true?

By Lily (Year 9)