This essay will critically look at what more the government need to do to stop the fake news. Accordingly, the definitions of fake news may differ in specifics, but they all agree that fabricated news harms the credibility of news organisations and individuals. Fake news gets a thorough explanation in the assigned reading. Disinformation or hoaxes, as described therein as “a type of yellow journalism” (Wardle & Derakhshan, 2018)) is being disseminated through various media. This description makes it clear that the focus is on intentionally spreading false information. Using this definition, it is possible to accurately describe fabricated news, including the presence of deliberate disinformation. But in my opinion, the definition should be broadened to include the fact that not all fake news distributors are doing it on purpose. Some news organisations or individual bloggers can review and cite fake news shared by other sources based on popularity considerations.
Fake news is spread for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, the failure to verify the veracity of the information presented. The extent to which a message is based on real-world events is clearly reflected in my definition of a fake message. “The level of facticity” is one of the key dimensions that helps define fake news and its subtypes, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate (2021). Consequently, it is possible to define fake news more precisely by referring to the various types of fake news. Definition of fabricated news and the classification of fake messages are closely linked. More than 30 academic articles were reviewed by Tandoc et al., (2018) in their study on the definitions and goals of the fake news. “Satire, parody, fabrication, manipulation, propaganda, and advertising” are all examples of how authors of high-quality articles use the term being discussed (Tandoc et al., 2018).
This definition of “fake news” can be clarified, in my opinion, by focusing on these aims of the practise. According to the six goals, incorrect information in the media isn’t always linked to propaganda and profit-making activities when included in the definition. To a large extent, the dissemination of fake news is used to influence public opinion on a variety of issues or gain financial advantage. However, some news organisations deliberately fabricate news in order to satirise controversial individuals or trends and, thus, express their views in a satirical manner.
Role of Government to the News Sources
The problem of “fake news” is causing governments all over the world to work overtime to find a solution. From the UK to Turkey, the United States, and India, governments remain investigating and condemning the spread of spitefully false info via social media. A “Fake News Advisory Board” is being considered by California legislators in the US to research how false info spreads on the internet and propose solutions to the issue (Marcetic, 2021). The Indian government has been putting pressure on Facebook to take out newspaper adverts to battle spread of spitefully false info on its prevalent service for messaging, WhatsApp (Kozlowska, 2018). However, putting pressure on businesses or establishing government committees isn’t the answer. It’s a way of teaching critical thinking skills to the next generation. Specifically, government should do the following:
- Independent, professional journalism is an important thing governments can do around the world. Journalists are needed by the general public in order to help them make sense of complex social, political, and economic events. Several areas are undergoing transformations I’ve dubbed “megachanges” elsewhere, and these alterations have sparked a great deal of hostility, anxiety, and perplexity. Having an independent Fourth Estate is critical in these times of great uncertainty.
- Governments should refrain from imposing restrictions on the ability of the media to report on current events. Journalists’ ability to cover political developments is hindered by these activities. The United States of America should serve as a paradigm for countries around the world. As a result of American censorship or restrictions on the media, other countries follow suit.
- Avoid editing content as well as making the online platforms accountable for propaganda, governments should. Free speech could be curtailed if people are frightened to express their diplomatic views for worry of them being marked as fake news and thus censored. Inadvertently inspiring authoritarian administrations to dwindle freedom of expression might be fixed by such overly restrictive policies.
Role of Government to the Public
Improving the Public’s Critical Thinking. Education is the key. It’s concerning giving individuals critical thinking skills. Better thinkers judge information better, plus that’s how we shall conclusively defeat fake news. Presently, a good number of young people can’t tell fact from fiction online. Students can’t tell the difference amid branded advertising and real news. A 2016 Stanford History Education Group study found that people don’t consider source material’s bias when evaluating social media claims. In one study, over a third of kids admitted to sharing fake or inaccurate information online.
The inability of voters towards distinguishing legitimate information from gibberish is among the most serious effects of a need for critical thinking. The voters should cast ballots founded on actual circumstances in their societies, not bogeymen and myths, as well as fake news along with its gossipy cousins shall weaken democracies. But fake news also hinders the reaction to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Such as when, during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, officials were rumoured to be asking evacuees about their immigration (U.S. Department of Homeland Security 2018).
That’s why tackling “fake news” requires critical thinking. After all, critical thinking involves questioning assumptions. It’s doubly significant when each factoid all through human history remains theoretically accessible via Google, but is muddled with incorrect or biased information. We must teach our children to question every website they visit: Who designed it? Why? What’s the plan? Most importantly, where does the information come from — innuendo and hearsay, or analysis and data? 2016 Stanford report found that kids rarely consider the polling organization’s potential bias when evaluating poll results. This exposes students to all sorts of bias in the form of facts and figures. But they could learn to evaluate the information source and thus become better information consumers.
Carrying out Public Awareness. People can be misled or manipulated when they engage with information logically, and we all need to get better at recognising when stories lack logic or are written to appeal to our emotions rather than our intelligence. Also for economic reasons, critical thinking is vital. Many current jobs will be replaced by AI, forcing workers to learn new skills which robots and computers cannot duplicate. In accordance with a “2018 McKinsey Global Institute report” (BBC Report, 2017), automation might replace equal to 30 percent of global work hours as of 2030. In relation to the McKinsey analysis, several business leaders by now expect more employees to be able to interpret and process intricate information. Because of new technologies, many current jobs necessitate far more skills of critical thinking compared to the past: Consider how nurses use EMRs to improve patient outcomes. But we must be concerned. Robots may replace humans in hundreds of millions of jobs in impending decades. Democracies are factually at risk. Consider the endeavored election interfering in the US, Italy, France, and elsewhere (BBC Report) (2017). There is decent news. Students can learn to evaluate information critically. In relation to a 2016 study issued in The Lancet, Ugandan students aged 10–12 were taught to spot false medical treatment claims (Nsangi et al., 2017).
So the government should not only come up with legislation to curb fake news but must encourage all to work together to combat fake news. You and I can cut across the sludge and arise as well-versed citizens set to confront 21st century challenges. And our capacity to have functioning economy and democracy hinges on it.
BBC Report (2017) Robot automation will “take 800 million jobs by 2030” – report – BBC News. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42170100[accessed on 26 February 2022]
Center for Countering Digital Hate (2021) ‘The Disinformation Dozen: Why platforms must act on twelve leading online anti-vaxxers’, Available at: https://www.counterhate.com/disinformationdozen
Kozlowska, H. (July 10, 2018) ‘It’s so hard to fight fake news on WhatsApp that Facebook is buying newspaper ads’, Quartz, Available at: https://qz.com/1324828/its-so-hard-to-fight-fake-news-on-whatsapp-that-in-india-facebook-is-buying-newspaper-ads/[Accessed on 26 February 2022]
Marcetic, B. (2021) If You’re Worried About Misinformation, Focus on For-Profit TV News, Available at: https://jacobinmag.com/2021/02/for-profit-cable-news-misinformation-trump-cnn[Accessed on 26 February 2022]
Nsangi, A., Semakula, D., Oxman, A. D., Austvoll-Dahlgren, A., Oxman, M., Rosenbaum, S., … Sewankambo, N. K. (2017) ‘Effects of the Informed Health Choices primary school intervention on the ability of children in Uganda to assess the reliability of claims about treatment effects: a cluster-randomised controlled trial’, The Lancet, 390(10092), 374–388. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31226-6
Tandoc, E. C., Lim, Z. W., & Ling, R. (2018, February 7) ‘Defining “Fake News”: A typology of scholarly definitions’, Digital Journalism. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2017.1360143
Wallace, K. (April 3, 2017) ‘Is ‘fake news’ fooling kids? New report says yes’ CNN Health, available at: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/10/health/fake-news-kids-common-sense-media/index.html[ accessed on 26 February 2022]
Wardle, C. and Derakhshan, H. (2018) ‘Thinking about ‘information disorder’: formats of misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information’ in C. Ireton and J. Posetti (eds) Journalism, ‘Fake News’ & Disinformation: UNESCO Handbook for Journalism Education and Training. Available at: https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/f._jfnd_handbook_module_2.pdf
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2018) ‘Countering False Information Countering False Information on Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies’, Social Media Working Group for Emergency Services and Disaster Management, (March).