Examples of fake news

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Recently there have been high profile examples of fake news circulating.  During the recent Covid 19 pandemic it was widely shared and believed by some that the disease was caused by the introduction of 5G technology.  Allegedly these repressed the immune system and the virus spread via radio waves.  This was repeatedly denied by experts but still the myth persisted.

President Putin has repeatedly renounced genuine news of his war on Ukraine as fake news.  Some of the most serious of war crimes, like the shelling of the theatre in Mariupol he has blamed on Ukrainian rebels.  Pictures of seriously injured Ukrainians he has denied are actually injured, even after a high profile pregnant woman died of her injuries after being carried out of a bombed maternity hospital.  He is spreading a lot of false propaganda in Russia and banning all reference to a war, calling it instead a ‘military operation’.  He is using fake news to try and keep the Russian public on side.

During the 2020 US election, genuine reporters were hired by fake Russian editors to write about the election.  These Russians have been linked to the Russian state.  Facebook “learned through a tip from the FBI” that the site was run by “people formerly associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency, which created a number of influential Twitter and Facebook personas to inflame political tensions in the 2016 election”, says NBC News.  Russia has allegedly interfered in both the 2016 and 2020 US elections by spreading fake news.

The effect of fake news

Many people heed what they read in the news when it comes to important decisions they need to make, like how to vote in an election or what treatments to seek when ill.  This makes fake news a dangerous thing because it can influence major events and cause people harm.

Fake news is often geared towards creating social conflict.  This generates deeper divides within society and can influence elections.  Confusion created by fake news leads to the feeling that ‘you can’t believe anything you read’ which negatively impacts genuine news providers.

Students researching for essays at University or College may be influenced by fake news which will lead to lower grades.

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