Lately, a frequent topic of discussion has been the 2016 presidential election in the United States and the effect fake news did or did not allegedly have on the outcome.
What is fake news?
On the surface it seems like a misnomer. Something is either fake or it’s news; are the two not mutually exclusive?
We call it “false reporting.” In the context of the 2016 American presidential election—or any election, we suppose—the aim seems obvious: to deceive. To what further end? Again, self-evident: to influence. That was as far as we needed to explore the motivation for fake news/false reporting.
For our intents and purposes, we define fake news/false reporting as targeted fiction of an inflammatory nature, disseminated with the intent of influencing the consumer by causing damage and/or harm to one or more parties described therein.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg minimized the effects false reporting may have had in the 2016 election cycle when musing on the popular social networking site.
“Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other.”
Immediately thereafter, Zuckerberg made it clear that false reporting was still a problem that he wanted to address.
“That said, we don’t want any hoaxes on Facebook. Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news.”
False reporting can be found all over and has even caught on with some big players in the news and information industry. Safe to say, it’s potentially everywhere. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called it an epidemic during a speech on Capitol Hill.
“It’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences,” the former secretary of state said in reference to the Pizzagate false reporting scandal that prompted an armed attack at a Washington D.C. Pizza shop.
“This isn’t about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk.”
How did we come to this?
One of the first things taught to young journalism students is a simple mantra, one which serves as the first tenet of the Society of Professional Journalist’s hallowed code of ethics: seek the truth and report it. We at the helm of the Inquisitr wish only to inform, to entertain, to enlighten. We deliver the latest trending news our readers want to know. Never shall we aim to deceive, never to influence; we’ve no horse in that race, no stake in that game.
We’re interested in delivering engaging content that is both timely and topical, nothing more. Yes, our writers are allowed to use their own voices, and when they do, we make sure you know who’s talking. Yes, we discuss the gossip surrounding celebrated people, and if it’s only a rumor, we make sure that’s clear. Yes, we’ll run a UFO or conspiracy story, and it will be clearly labeled as such. Do we affirm that every rumor we discuss is objectively “the truth”? No. But if someone said it happened, someone else might want to know about it.
The Inquisitr stands by our content and we welcome any discussion on our stories, be it questions, comments, criticism or concerns.