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Disinformation or "Fake News" in Social Media

“Fake News” is a term that has been thrown around frequently since the 2016 presidential election. Whether content was produced and distributed by foreign governments or by the uninformed, the spread of fake news has accelerated due to social media platforms. The spread of disinformation is not confined to politics, the U.S.A. or even the 21st century. The selection of articles below explore different aspects of disinformation throughout history, different countries and industries. 

#1 Beyond Misinformation: Survival Alternatives for Nigerian Media

Beyond Misinformation: Survival Alternatives for Nigerian Media in the “Post-Truth” Era

One pillar of democracy is freedom of speech and information which often times features trusted media sources to promote both. Nigerian media was accused of spreading misinformation and hoaxes to a trusting public. The introduction of social media became known as the “post-truth” era where disinformation and half-truths were distributed to a larger audience and more frequently than ever before. This paper examines how a community of journalists and a community of media users in Nigeria perceive the post-truth era and identifies how media can be better positioned for their democratic roles at a time when people are rising against fact and truth.

Source: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23743670.2018.1551810

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#2 See Something, Say Something

See Something, Say Something: Correction of Global Health Misinformation on Social Media

Social media are often criticized for being a conduit for misinformation on global health issues, but may also serve as a corrective to false information. To investigate this possibility, an experiment was conducted exposing users to a simulated Facebook News Feed featuring misinformation and different correction mechanisms (one in which news stories featuring correct information were produced by an algorithm and another where the corrective news stories were posted by other Facebook users) about the Zika virus, a current global health threat. Results show that algorithmic and social corrections are equally effective in limiting misperceptions, and correction occurs for both high and low conspiracy belief individuals. This could also be applied to other health issues, such as, vaccinations.

Source: https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/doi/pdf/10.1080/10410236.2017.1331312?needAccess=true

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#3 How Fake News Was Used in 19th Century Colonialism

How “fake news” was a tool of nineteenth century colonialism and conquest

Fake news, or the dissemination of altered facts and information, is not new concept. There’s a long history of conquerors changing the history and the narrative of their actions once they are in power. Many cases of colonialism were made in the name of religion or for saving the native people, when the actual events were more violent and with more mercenary motivation. This article explores a few examples of how fake news and misinformation was used in the 19th century by colonizers and politicians to garner support and resources for their activities from their countrymen. Similar to today, newspapers were used to sway the publics to different sides of the aisle or to have different views on the peoples being colonized to justify their actions.

Source: https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/doi/pdf/10.1080/01296612.2017.1455623?needAccess=true

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#4 The Politicization of “Fake News” on Twitter

Read All About It: The Politicization of “Fake News” on Twitter

Due to the importance of word choice in political discourse, this study explored
the use of the term “fake news.” Using a social network analysis, content analysis,
and cluster analysis, political characteristics of online networks that formed around discussions of “fake news” were examined. This study found that “fake news” is a politicized term where conversations overshadowed logical and important discussions of the term. Findings also revealed that social media users from opposing political parties communicate in homophilous environments and use “fake news” to disparage the opposition and condemn real information disseminated by the opposition party members.

Source: https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/doi/pdf/10.1177/1077699018769906

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#5 What If More Speech is No Longer the Solution?

What If More Speech Is No Longer the Solution? First Amendment Theory Meets Fake News and the Filter Bubble

The First Amendment of the Constitution is summarized as Freedom of Speech. A citizen has the right to say what they want without being silenced but another citizen can present a counterview and be heard as well. But what happens when modern technology focused on personalization only shows a user content that specifically echoes his/her own thoughts and beliefs? What happens when fake news is legitimized by the frequency it is seen on social media platforms and online searches. This article explores the political effects of modern news and information channels creating silos of inflammatory ads and content.

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#6 Have We Been Hacked?

Fake news: When the dark side of persuasion takes over

This essay takes a fresh approach on being “hacked” claiming that Fake News has infiltrated mass communication channels and is wreaking havoc for all parties involved. Fake news is identified as a sinister form of mass persuasion. The paper reviews the history of the precursors of the construct and offers a contemporary definition. Research findings about how consumers process fake news information are discussed. The essay highlights the relevance of fake news for the marketing communications field and ends with a call to action to researchers for the development of effective interventions.

Source: https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/10.1080/02650487.2019.1586210

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#7 I don’t believe you! Misinformation in Healthcare

I do not believe you: how providing a source corrects health misperceptions across social media platforms

Social media are often criticized as serving as a source of misinformation, but this study examines how they may also function to correct misperceptions on an emerging health issue. An experimental design is used to consider social correction that occurs via peers, testing both the type of correction (i.e., whether a source is provided or not) and the platform on which the correction occurs (i.e., Facebook versus Twitter). The results suggest that a source is necessary to correct misperceptions about the causes of the Zika virus on both Facebook and Twitter, but the mechanism by which such correction occurs differs across platforms. If users begin to expect sources to prove creditability and do additional research instead of taking every post as the truth, this would help stem the tide of fake news.
Source: https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1313883

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#8 Fake News Affects Us All

Fake News Should Be Regulated Because It Influences Both “Others” and “Me”: How and Why the Influence of Presumed Influence Model Should Be Extended

There has been a lot of discussion on the impact of fake news in this latest presidential election. For the most part, people assume that they are savvy enough to detect fake news, but what about those who take anything found online as a fact. This article found that individuals’ support for government interventions and sanctions for fake news creators and sharers was stronger if they believed that fake news influenced both other people and themselves.

Source: https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/10.1080/15205436.2018.1562076

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#9 Audiences Act of Authentication in the Age of Fake News

Audiences’ acts of authentication in the age of fake news: A conceptual framework

Through an analysis of relevant literature and open-ended survey responses from 2501 Singaporeans, this article proposes a conceptual framework to understand how individuals authenticate the information they encounter on social media. In broad strokes, the study finds that individuals rely on both their own judgment of the source and the message, and when this does not adequately provide a definitive answer, they turn to external resources to authenticate news items.

Source: https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/doi/pdf/10.1177/1461444817731756

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#10 Family of Falsehoods: Deception, Media Hoaxes and Fake News

A family of falsehoods: deception, media hoaxes and fake news

“Fake news” became a concern for journalists in 2017 as news organizations sought to differentiate themselves from false information spread via social media, websites and public officials. This essay examines the history of media hoaxing and fake news to help provide context for the current U.S. media environment. In addition, definitions of the concepts are proposed to provide clarity for researchers and journalists trying to explain these phenomena.

Source: https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/doi/pdf/10.1177/0739532918796228

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#11 Disinformation and the Media

Disinformation and the media: the case of Russia and Ukraine

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine can be analyzed as an instance where the Internet has strengthened the power of political actors to create disinformation. But it is no longer only the state-supported media monopoly that produces and disseminates propaganda. Citizens themselves actively participate in their own disenfranchisement by using social media to generate, consume or distribute false information, contributing to a new order where disinformation acquires increasing authority. This essay follows disinformation practices through the transition from broadcast to social media in post-Soviet times and theorizes how the coexistence of old and new media in the production of propaganda might inform our understanding of future scenarios, including in Western democracies.

Source: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0163443716686672

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