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Fake News and Disinformation

What is Fake News?

Fake news refers to distorted and sometimes falsifed reports with the intention to mislead. Initially fake news referred to political reports but the concept can be expanded to refer to reporting intentionally inaccurate information about other topics as well.

There are usually multiple goals behind fake news. They include:

  • To persuade an audience to adhere to one ideological position over another based on information that is not true. The information can be not true in that it is false or in that it is not completely true. This type of fake news acts as propaganda.
  • To obscure or distort true information because it would damage a political entity, such as a government or a politician.
  • For financial gain. Creating fake news draws people to click on news stories online, which leads to advertising revenue for websites, or to buy print publications.

Note: Journalists can report on a story that naturally develops; sometimes in the process the information changes. That is not fake news. A journalistic story has the intention of providing the most accurate information available at that time. Fake News intends to mislead.

 

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