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Fake News

Asher Noriega, Writer

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Fake news, or what Kellyanne Conway likes to call it, alternative facts, have invaded the American public news stream since the founding of our country. In the past decade social media has only made it easier for fake news to reach a larger audience, and it can do a surprising amount of harm to those who don’t bother to fact check what is presented as the truth to them.

One of the largest offenders of making fake news viral is the endless feed on Facebook where anything can be shown as long as it becomes popular. Mark Zuckerberg himself has denied Facebook as being a factor of false news being spread to it’s users. Some people have even speculated that fake news may have influenced the 2016 presidential election. People often search for like minded people online and stay in their political comfort zones and when they do encounter people of other opinions the resulting debate is often unproductive. Even though the owners of Facebook have claimed that their website is a neutral zone for other people to share information, their automated editorial programs often make strange, one sided decisions.

False news does not only confuse and mislead a mass audience, but some people can even make a living deceiving people with purposely eye catching titles. An ambitious 23 year old man named Cameron Harris spent fifteen minutes coming up with a fake political news story about Hillary Clinton hiding fake votes in an Ohio warehouse and ended up making five thousand dollars from people viewing the advertisements on his website, Christian Times. This particular instance was large enough to warrant the former president Barack Obama to mention it in his farewell speech on Chicago. Profiting from fake news is a dishonest and deceiving way to make money, one we can easily protect against. Fact checking with multiple sources is a great way to find not only the truth, but also alternate opinions on the same topic. It does not take very much work and it can save many people from the embarrassment of ignorance.

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Fake News