Fake News via Social Media

Photo by: Getty Images

Journalism in social media today can be beneficial and unreliable for many people. It can be unreliable because it can lead to “fake news.”

Often, we see many journalists who rush to get a story out so they can be first, before confirming all of their information. It can harm people and their reputation and worry others.

An example of a journalist caring about being the first is when Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi passed away in a helicopter accident back in January 2020. A reporter for TMZ was so worried about being the first to let people know about the accident. In his tweet, he wrote, “It is now confirmed that the three other people in the helicopter with him were his three daughters.”

This tweet started to get so much attention and many fans were devastated for the Bryant family. The reporter later apologized for his inaccurate information.

“Fake news” is a term that is used more than ever. It is used when information is inaccurate. The reason is used more now is because of what has been going recently, for example: COVID-19 and the elections.

People create fake news to make more people panic or to put someone’s reputation down, especially with the elections going on.

Deepfakes have been used to get attention through manipulation. They are videos that are edited with other peoples’ faces on them, usually celebrities. A deepfake was created to make a public service announcement with Barack Obama’s face back in 2018. It is used to manipulate people or to just make a joke out of it.

Deepfakes are a form of “fake news.” It is usually harder for some people to point it out because it looks so real. This is commonly used via social media.

Many people create “fake news” stories and post to get a conversation going. They purposely do this to get different opinions and create a life out of the story.

Although some people fall into the manipulation or fall for the “fake news” stories, there are red flags to spot when reading a “fake news” story or post. You can tell by the author or username of that story or post. Some fake stories or posts come from a user that has an out of the ordinary name or just numbers. Time stamps are also an important thing to look at when looking for a credible story.

Example of a fake story

In the image below, President Trump tweeted out a fake story that is criticizing Joe Biden from satirical news outlet.

Shortly, after tweeting this, President Trump realized that the news outlet is a satire site. Babylon Bee is a “fake news” outlet. They publish satirical articles that touch topics on: politics, current-events, religion, and public figures.

Unique identification code

Another way to spot a “fake news” story or post is through the code. Most fake stories or posts have a unique code followed by “status/” in the URL bar.

Metadata, Time Stamps, and Digital Footprints

Metadata is used to break down the details of a photo. In this tweet, there was no picture involved, just a link. If you see someone post a photo, you can post it on a website that will tell you what camera they used to take it, location of the photo, and date/time.

Time stamps are a useful key to determine if a story is accurate or not. It allows you to see when they distributed their story/post.

Digital footprints helps you figure out if the account of the user is fake or not. It will show you their other profiles in different platforms.

All these components play a role in separating fake news from real news. I was able to find the news outlet’s account that Trump had tweeted a link from. Their account proves that they deliver fake news. In their bio, it reads “Fake news you can trust.”

Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Houston | CoogTV Reporter | Telemundo Brand Ambassador | Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram: @cecygnews