What is fake news?
‘Fake news’ is a term to describe misleading and inaccurate information that is transmitted on traditional news media and online social media platforms. Fake news is generated to undermine an individual or organisation by using attention-seeking headlines and exaggerated writing to raise readership and influence perceptions.
Why people forge fake news?
Fake news is written and published for various reasons, which are typically seen from the political and social angles. From the political perspective, fake news are generated to tarnish the reputation of opposing political parties, organisations and countries by deceiving the audience. As for the social angle, fake news can incite hatred towards specific groups of individuals to destabilise societies, seen in cases like racial and religious discrimination.
Why fake news is bad?
Given the freer flow of information in this modern age, fake news is detrimental to societies. From the social perspective, fake news gives rise to social instability as misconstrued facts and figures sway the thoughts and emotions of individuals, allowing distrust and suspicions to fester. Consequently, social unrests may arise, which brings about unnecessary bloodshed and violence.
Can censorship regulate fake news?
Censorship refers to the regulation of information that is deemed inappropriate, harmful and insensitive. In view of the growing threat of fake news, governments have considered censorship as the primary means to control the dissemination of information. Although state-level censorship, such as outright ban of specific online news organisations, may stem out the spread of fake news, it may not be adequate to minimise the harmful impacts. Therefore, the proliferation of education is important to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills to conduct self-censorship.