How did the news go ‘fake’? When the media went social
The Collins Dictionary word of the year for 2017 is, disappointingly, “fake news”. We say disappointingly, because the ubiquity of that phrase among journalists, academics and policymakers is partly why the debate around this issue is so simplistic. The phrase is grossly inadequate to explain the nature and scale of the problem. (Were those Russian ads displayed at the congressional hearings last week news, for example?) But what’s more troubling, and the reason that we simply cannot use the phrase any more, is that it is being used by politicians around the world as a weapon against the fourth estate and an excuse to censor free speech. Definitions matter. Social media force us to live our lives in public, positioned centre-stage in our very own daily performances. The social networks are engineered so that we are constantly assessing others – and being assessed ourselves. We grudgingly accept these public performances when it comes to our travels, shopping, dating, and dining.
Related: How to Think Critically. Fake News
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