From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"I am aware that many people might be upset by my equating religion with fake news, but that’s exactly the point. When a thousand people believe some made-up story for one month – that’s fake news. When a billion people believe it for a thousand years – that’s a religion, and we are admonished not to call it ‘fake news’ in order not to hurt the feelings of the faithful (or incur their wrath)."--21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018) by Yuval Harari
"The paradox is this: despite Wikipedia, which is the first time that reliable and objective information is available for free all over the world, the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories has never been higher than today."--Sholem Stein
Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. The term is also at times used to cast doubt upon legitimate news from an opposing political standpoint, a tactic known as the lying press. The false information is then often reverberated as misinformation in social media, but occasionally finds its way to the mainstream media as well. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest, or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership, online sharing, and Internet click revenue. In the latter case, it is similar to sensational online "clickbait" headlines and relies on advertising revenue generated from this activity, regardless of the veracity of the published stories. Intentionally misleading and deceptive fake news differs from obvious satire or parody, which is intended to amuse rather than mislead its audience.
The relevance of fake news has increased in post-truth politics. For media outlets, the ability to attract viewers to their websites is necessary to generate online advertising revenue. If publishing a story with false content attracts users, this benefits advertisers and improves ratings. Easy access to online advertisement revenue, increased political polarization, and the popularity of social media, primarily the Facebook News Feed, which competes with legitimate news stories. Hostile government actors have also been implicated in generating and propagating fake news, particularly during elections.
Fake news undermines serious media coverage and makes it more difficult for journalists to cover significant news stories. An analysis by Buzzfeed found that the top 20 fake news stories about the 2016 U.S. presidential election received more engagement on Facebook than the top 20 election stories from 19 major media outlets. Anonymously-hosted fake news websites lacking known publishers have also been criticized, because they make it difficult to prosecute sources of fake news for libel.
During and after his presidential campaign and election, Donald Trump popularized the term "fake news" when he used it to describe the negative press coverage of himself. In part as a result of Trump's use of the term, the term has come under increasing criticism, and in October 2018 the British government decided that it will no longer use the term because it is "a poorly-defined and misleading term that conflates a variety of false information, from genuine error through to foreign interference in democratic processes."
- Alternative facts
- Climate change denial
- Confirmation bias
- Conspiracy theory
- Demoralization (warfare)
- Internet meme
- Journalism ethics and standards
- Lügenpresse – German phrase
- Media bias
- Media coverage of North Korea