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Fake News – Explained
19th January, 2017

Fake News – it’s in the press and so I’m going to write about… but what do I know!

What is Fake News?

The idea is simple – we’re all empowered to create news, just by writing anything we feel like on the Internet, it might be a Blog, a website, or just plain old Social Media.  So we do… we put up our photos about our holiday in Turkey (Social Media site are when this happens most often as it’s so easy), we write a snippet or two about the weather or the food we ate and share it with our friends.

Not long after – we might see an Advert about Holidays in Turkey – or we might see some article on Turkey in our newsfeed – which we read, we’re connecting dots here, we’re seeing things about things we’ve done.  It all make sense.

But that’s not quite where it ends… because now we’ve told these websites what we like (or did like) and they know that and in some mis-directed effort they are trying to connect us to more information that they think we like.

In fact the  more we like and read – the more information on that topic we will be subjected to and so the bubble starts to build.

The Effects of Fake News

What happens next is natural, but also unnatural at the same time, only in that it is more extreme.  In a traditional sense we might have worked in a restaurant or a shop or factory, our lives out be centred to some extent around that work place and we as people might well have meet up with co-workers or like-minded people in the pub or after hours.

With the Internet the same thing is happening, but faster and more extremely.  Because on websites like Facebook, Snapchat and What’s Up you’re guided not only towards like-minded people, but also towards like-minded topics and interests.  These are the things these website know you like and therefore put more of in front of you.

Tests have been done… Facebook is actually pretty partisan in terms of Politics, Conservatives vs Labour, but people who subscribe to the Telegraph Page and perhaps the Tory Page – will be lead very firmly towards the right, and increasingly they are subjected to more and more politically right views.  If they continue to like and share Right articles and news – their views will become more extreme and eventually they will be subjected to some pretty serious and far-right points of view.

Exactly the same happens with the Left – before too long (in as little as a week according to tests) if you share posts on Leftish subjects you’ll start to see some serious pro-communist propaganda.

It’s no different to my regular updates from YouTube – who send me emails recommending what videos I want to watch – because my child likes to watch cartoons and Disney clips on my computer – my recommended viewing for what YouTube thinks I want to watch is all about Disney and cartoons.

The Main Point on Fake News

We have a situation where people are increasingly drawn towards subjects they are interested in, the problem is we cannot control it.  We have a lot to be thankful for, but it is only now that we’re realising the full effect of what has been created.

Extremism, Brexit, Trump, the Arab Spring risings are all products of the increase in disparity between peoples in every shape and form of society, the situation promises to get worse before it will get better.

The truth is all our technological advancements from Uber Cars to Facebook and iPhones to Amazon will have an effect on how society develops.  The real effect of all these new ways of doing things is only just beginning to be seen and it is very early days yet.  In Iceland the Pirate Party almost won the general election, they wanted to re-write their constitution, do away with parliament and put all political views online allowing everyone to participate in their countries laws.  It’s not as crazy as it sounds, once we work out the technical side a bit more.