Check your source—the rise of social media and fake news

Check your source—the rise of social media and fake news

In a world where all our questions can be answered with a google search, it’s fast becoming hard to know what sources are reliable. Social media apps, are a current example of how technology has reshaped the way we receive news, facts and updates on current affairs. Just look at Snapchat’s discover page where you can find updates from outlets such as the daily mail, CNN, Yahoo news or even the BBC’s breaking news bulletins, which are delivered directly to your phone within seconds of an incident occurring. In the latest fake news scandal the Guardian reported on a case where a woman diagnosed with breast cancer began searching for information around her illness online, only to be faced with 'unscientific' and 'frequently dangerous' misinformation.

In this fast-paced world, where we can easily reach information from millions of sources and news websites, we question what are the dangers of ‘fake news’ and how can we be sure something is reliable?

What is ‘fake news’?

Fake news can be defined under two categories, as explained by Adelaide Lopez, solicitor at Wiggin LLP, in Fact, fiction and fake news—exploring the impact of fake news. The first being false or inaccurate stories usually circulated to further a political or social agenda and the second accurate news reporting mischaracterised information because someone disagrees with or dislikes the content. One of the highest profile cases of fake news, which would fall under the second category of the definition, would refer to Donald Trump and his administration. He declared, for example that ‘long established and credible news outlets such as the New York Times are peddling “fake news” about his administration’s ties with Russia”.

What are the main problems, wrongly sourced or fake news can cause?

There are many issues that can

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About the author:

Hannah is one of the Future of Law blog’s digital and technical editors. She graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in History and Politics and previously freelanced for News UK, before working as a senior news editor for LexisNexis.