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Fake News on a Rampage
[382호] 2017년 03월 01일 (수) Reporter Park Geun-woo silmari@
   
“You are fake news!” The video of Donald J. Trump shouting at CNN’s reporter while ignoring his question during his first press conference went viral on the Internet not long ago. Coincidentally, the year 2016 had gone through a harsh wrestle with fake news. During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, fabricated news raged in various channels. It was the worst on the top-major news outlet; the Facebook newsfeed, including "End the Fed", the most notorious one. One article in the New York Times noted that the amount voter fraud in 2016 was overseen by the stunning number of people to be next to none. According to a Buzzfeed analysis, false election-related news sites and blogs had hit 8,711,000 shares, reactions and comments on Facebook. This is an amount exceeding far more views than any top stories from mainstream news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post and Huffington Post. Some people even  fiercely accused the fake news and the hoax sites which distributed misleading information about the candidates to the voters all over the country during the election period, for the result of the election. Though the researchers in Stanford University concluded the impact of the false news were not as much as it seemed, the concrete truth is that the information did sway the election. Fake news, though the scarring political impact it had brought about last year was unprecedented, has been alive for centuries.
Core purpose of fake news varies, but the intent is generally to deceive the readers for financial profits or political returns. Before the days of mass printing, false information was seen mainly in political campaigns, usually to spread specious ideas about the opponent. That exact example can be found during the times of Roman Republic, between the rivals Mark Antony and Gaius Octavian. After the mass printing technology became available to the media, fake news exploded. During the 19th to 20th century, two kinds of fake news as we see today were aroused. The first is called “yellow journalism” and the other one is political propaganda. These two share seemingly similar concept and strategy. The birth of yellow journalism dates back to late 19th century where two major newspaper publishers made a feud, and a sensational cartoon brought victory to one side. Yellow journalism reached its pinnacle when anti-Spanish rumors published by Joseph Pulitzer and William Hearst and yellow journalism calling for war ignited Spanish-American War. Political propaganda swept Europe during World War 2, with both Axis and the Allies using the technique to persuade the civilians.
In 21st century, fake news has not staggered at all; it became mammoth and impactful than ever, thanks to global-scale network and media. It had even been deemed as “a new foe of political stability”. Fortunately, people have begun retaliating back. Open Google Document, “Media ReDesign: The New Realities”, first made by Upworthy founder Eli Pariser, brought people over the world to participate in informing others of the fake news. Facebook is on its way to developing and implementing a tech-algorithmic solution to detect fake news and protect the users. With technology and collective intelligence, we might be seeing what could be the last of fake news after all.

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