Trends in the Diffusion of Misinformation on Social Media

If you are a consistent user of social media, then you must be aware of the constant spread of fake news aimed at misleading the general public. The dispersion of these unverified news updates seeks to cause some sort of damage to our society at large.

What is Fake News?

Fake news is “fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent.”

Before we came to the realization of the fact that the social media is laced with fake news, we were aware that it has been the norm when it comes to our political candidates feeding us with what they deem fit.

A recent study has shown that sometime before the 2016 election held in the U.S., a good number of people had gotten hold of fake news stories, and 80% of the people who read the stories wholeheartedly believed it. This has led many people to hold onto the obvious fact that the 2016 election was indeed influenced by fake stories.

The Damage is Done

From recent happenings, one can unarguably state that fake news kept evolving over the years, with nothing aiming to stand in their way. Look at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These social media platforms have suddenly become their domain. People just come up from nowhere, boldly write anything that comes to their head, and easily get away with it; leaving tons of unsuspected individuals to come and feast on the news.

On some other websites, it’s even worse as a lot of half-baked journalists and bloggers open a blog at will, host it, and then start causing the damage. And of course, anyone who visits the site will definitely get damaged unconsciously.

There are about 500 websites that are currently dispersing fake news with no attempt by the appropriate authorities to stop them. According to the data, people tend to feast more on fake news than they do on real ones.

Why? Because the original peddlers of these stories have so mastered the act of painting these lies in the most honorable way possible to ensure that more people get attracted and in the end, consume the information. In this regard, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have been ranked the highest when it comes to hitting and distributing these stories through an active share button that’s readily made available to the users of the site.

Sometime last year, Opera launched it’s a news hub and allowed writers to flood into the site promising to let every writer earn honorably according to their input. This initiative was going really well until later. Some of the greedy writers who would do anything to get their articles published did anything they could including the publication of fake stories.

It wasn’t until early this year that Opera developed a strategy that sorts to fish out fake stories and have them flagged down as soon as possible. As expected, this didn’t go down well with a lot of the writers of the platform, and they started quitting the platform one after the other.

This would be our general fate. If the appropriate authorities begin to scrutinize each website they come across, the world will be a better place.