By Allison Barry & Rachael Watson
This year has proved to be a very interesting year for news – from politics and electronics to celebrities and foreign policy – 2016 certainly deserves the title of “surreal.”
Among (but certainly not limited to) the biggest news topics this year were:
- The 2016 Olympics
- The heated US presidential election
- The Cubs finally winning the world series
- Samsung’s exploding phones
One of the most interesting aspects of 2016 was the realization that many people were falling victim to fake news. Social media plays a huge role in perpetuating fake news as people are quick to repost articles that appeal to their existing theoretical or ideological beliefs, creating echo chambers. These so-called social media echo chambers have people believing “if it’s on the internet, it must be true,” causing readers to jump to conclusions when they see an article of particular interest.
As PR professionals representing clients all over the world, we recognize and appreciate the importance of reputable reporting and fact checking. If you suspect that an article may be fake, take a moment and do the following:
- Check the source! Is the author/site reputable? Do they typically report on these topics? Are their articles picked up by other reputable sites? If not, you’re likely looking at a fake article.
- Look for similarly reported news outside of social media sources. Veer outside of your normal realm of news sources for a moment and see if any other outlets are reporting this news. No? You’ve got more fake news.
- Is it trending on social media or in the “real world?” Meaning, if it’s only a #hashtag trend and not being covered in traditional media outlets, it probably started as a simple concept and fell victim to the “social media algorithm” like #PizzaGate. In other words – fake.
If you’re still not sure if an article is fake or not, www.factcheck.org has some great tips for spotting the pretenders and over-blown conspiracy theories.
As we wrap up 2016, the Nereus team would like to wish everyone the happiest of holiday seasons. Look for new blog posts and exciting client news in the year to come.
Happy New Year!
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