The Macedonians are still at it.
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What do we mean when we say fake news?

In the span of just a few months it has gone from being completely unknown to a global concern. In the process, the phrase “fake news” has been misused, abused, and co-opted. Here’s how I define it:

Fake news is completely false information that was created for financial gain.

The financial component is important because we already have a good term for false information created for ideological or political reasons: propaganda.

Fake news is not:
  • State-sponsored disinformation.
  • Bad reporting.
  • A news story you don’t like.
  • Ideologically-driven news that goes against your views.

The Way We Live Now

School librarians in Seattle are teaching 5th graders how to be smart consumers of information, and how to spot fake news. Read more here.

Stories From Our Team

"We have to give the consumer tools, to help with this. And we've got to filter out part of it before it ever gets there without losing the great openness of the internet. This is one of today's chief problems. It is not something that has a simple solution."
Apple CEO Tim Cook on fake news

Worth Reading

  • A strong argument against governments stepping in to regulate fake news. “One does not need to go back to the Cold War to worry about what happens when governments become the arbiters of truth.”

  • The word hadeora means “it is said that” in Korean. That verb shows up in stories about rumors and other unverified information. According to this interesting story, Korean media is filled with its share rumors and fake news.

  • A good look from Wired about the need to attack the financial incentives that exist for fake news.

  • Three companies are trying to trademark the term fake news.

  • A fantastic initiative in France is bringing major newsrooms together to verify and debunk information about the elections in that country. It’s led by First Draft, a non-profit. (Disclosure: I was a founding partner of First Draft but currently have no formal role with the group.)

  • How fake news and misinformation distract journalists in Russia.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, or to drop me an email.

Copyright © 2017 Craig Silverman, All rights reserved.

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