The last week here at Lune Station, we talked about very important issues – mainly about politics and society organization – so, once we’re in election times, we bring to our special today a subject constantly talked about: Fake News.
You surely must have heard about fake news, but do you really know what they are?
If yes, have you ever stopped to think how fake news affect society so that everyone talks so much about it and it’s even considered a crime?
And another one: do you know how to identify them and don’t fall on this trap?
(yes, it’s a refference to Start Wars and a Brazilian TV show called “Carga Pesada” with a character called Bino. So don’t fall into the trap, Bino!)
To help you with all of that, once more we united the whole Sisterhood of the Moon on today’s Lune Special in order to talk about everything pointed out above so you understand more about the so talked fake news!
So hop on our train and let’s learn more about this phenomenon of our present society!
What Are Fake News?
Before talking about everything else, we need to understand what they are, right?
So let’s go! (and right now, Art is holding herself back so she won’t start singing the Portuguese version of “Barbie and the Rockers”)
On Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of fake news is:
“False stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.”Fonte: Dicionário de Cambridge
Although is an old practice, disseminating fake news/stories is a phenomenon that became very strong on present days because of social media. The possibility of viral contents and the lack of fact checking from content consumers, makes fake news as contagious as a virus.
The main problem to be observed is its use to influence opinions, mainly political ones.
While as jokes, fake news aren’t that dangerous – once that, for being openly absurd, one thinks anyone can notice they are fake.
Those are the cases, here in Brazil, of The Piauí Herald – which has on its own website the phrase “The Piauí Herald is not a news section, but exclusively of humor, with satires of the political reality on Brazil” – and the famous Sensacionalista – whose headline is “truth free”.
In other words, there are clear indications that the subjects on its news section aren’t true.
However, there are many of those “news” going through the internet with the intent of influencing the readers opinions and that becomes an even stronger phenomenon usually during election periods – such as fake researches about politic candidates that may influence voter’s choices.
I say that, because many people watch the population’s voting intention polls and end up changing their own votes in order to achieve the political views that they prefer.
Bringing misinformation, the judicial scope is more and more concerned in fighting fake news, worrying about criminalizing this practice.
Around the world, though, there are no specific Laws for that, that’s why judicial discussions around this matter are even more frequent. On Brazil, many tools are in creation, since the most specific hypotesis, to the greater scope hypotesis.
There’s also the point of constitutional principles collision – at least on Brazil – being mostly of the principle of freedom of speech with the matter of a Democratic State and the possibility of choosing, individually, your political representative in the government. On this subject, I think it’s interesting mentioning the Brazilian Supreme Court’s Minister, Barroso, phrase:
“Demoracy, on its turn, is a concept constructed from popular sovereignity, in whose scope lies the majority principle. Therefore, whenever one prevents the prevalence of the will of the majority takes place, automatically, a tension with the democratic principle.” (English translation by Artemis)
“A democracia, por sua vez, é um conceito construído a partir da soberania popular, em cujo âmbito se situa o princípio majoritário. Assim sendo, sempre que se impede a prevalência da vontade da maioria produz-se, automaticamente, uma tensão com o princípio democrático.” (Original in Portuguese)– Page 12, from the article “Tratamento Jurídico das Notícias Falsas“
How Does Fake News Affect Society?
Like we saw on the previous topic, with the evolution of comunication, the circulation of news have increased a great deal: now we don’t have only newspapers, but we also have internet, radio, magazines, television and other formats so that the world is up to date with news in general. However, we all know that not always those informations are correct, right?
Given its great scope and increasing number of cases, currently this subject got to great proportions, being put as a huge importance point on analyzing society’s behaviour – not only for the way it influences on the coexistence and actions on the social scope, but also because the financial scope is also envolved.
We are aware that fake news can serve good and bad causes, right? But, are we also aware that, being any of the cases, it might not be favorable to us, but to those who published?
Exactly what you read: one way or another, it’ll be profitable for someone and, most certainly, it’ll be for the one who published and disseminated it.
- Fake news have the power to promote defamation of other people,
- Harm company’s public images,
- Spread political ideas
Among other consequences, like affecting the behaviour of a social body.
We not only see this kind of information prowling the political scope but also the social scope in which we live. For instance, contrary informations that are published on newspapers, magazines, televisions and other medias that might end the life of a person in a matter of minutes – being one of the most known examples here in Brazil of a woman who was lynched after fake news which talked about the kidnapping of children for rituals.
There are many other examples and situations that have the same proportion.
“According to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, fake news spread 70% faster than real ones.” (Translated from Portuguese)
“Um estudo realizado pelo instituto de tecnologia de Massachusetts (MIT), apontou que as notícias falsas se espalham 70% mais rápido que as verdadeiras.” (Original in Portuguese)
It’s clear that the interest of society by the veracity of the informations being spread is minimal, being that those informations are great part of the problems we currently live.
On many occasions, people are influenced by sensacionalist titles, that lead them to share it, making it reach more people, creating then an endless cycle until proven fake.
Definitely, fake news became a huge market nowadays – the media bring this as a fact. Currently, one can make money only with clicks on fake news. As I mentioned before: somehow, those fake news will benefit some and harm the most part of people.
Politics per se is one the most affected scopes on this. Currently, we have a hard time distinguishing wichi is the real face of those we’re electing – who, in all manners possible, influence the society in which we live in. And it’ll be more and more difficult to distinguish.
That’s why fake news must be STOPPED.
For it to happen, change must come from media itself: if must show the people all it can cause.
How, for example, the diverse information with which we are bombarded when election periods begin. What is real? What is a lie? Which are the options or proof of that they are delivering us? And, most importantly, media must make people aware about what sharing fake subjects can cause on society.
Misinformation nowadays can lead us to very serious damages, both in the future and in the present. That’s why, it’s of extreme importance that we get better as people. It’s neccessary that we check it before sharing, that we are sure that which we are sharing won’t hurt us or hurt someone else.
Tips to Not Fall For It and Stop Spreading Fake News Around!
Now that we understand what are Fake News and how they can be harmful – not only for the social circle we are inserted, but for society as a whole – we’ll give some tips not to fall on this trap and help with not sharing those fake news.
Specially during election times, on which fake news flow like water and drastically affect the future of a town, a state or even a whole nation.
Tip number 1: Perhaps the most important and the one that helps to identify it in an easier way is checking the information source.
How to do that?
Make sure that the news came from a comunication vehicle that actually works with journalism.
Newspapers, websites, blogs, or any press vehicle, being them big or not, have a commitment with fact checking – and, when a mistake occurs, after all people behind those communication means e information dissemination are human beings as everyone else and are liable to error, they soon correct themselves – because if they start publishing fake things, they lose credibility (which is what gives them name and voice).
Vehicles that spread and feed fake facts, aren’t worried with this kind of thing.
Usually, those fake news come from instant websites – that disappear soon after releasing the misleading publishing – and others even try to simulate the structure of famous newspapers and magazines websites – which, consequently, have credibility and that may make the news seem real, so check the url, and, even if you still think it’s true, search for the original source.
Verify on other reliable sources and be sure: if it’s only in one website, be it suspect or not, then the chances of being fake are huge!
Tip number 2: If even after checking the original source you feel the news might not be real – after all, we tend to believe in info that are according to what we believe in, so it isn’t easy leaving our social and ideological bubbles – use fect checking websites.
Some companies and press vehicles today work with fack checking systems – which is nothing more than checking the facts; and that’s a very important initiative, specially on this digital era we live in.
We’ll list a few Brazilian fact checking vehicles below so you can have an idea of how they look like:
Agência Lupa – https://piaui.folha.uol.com.br/lupa/ (Verifies the veracity of phrases that contain historical data);
Aos Fatos – https://www.aosfatos.org/ (Follows politicians and authorities declarations in Brazil);
Uol Confere – https://noticias.uol.com.br/confere/ (fact checking and clarification);
Fato ou Fake – https://g1.globo.com/fato-ou-fake/ (Fake news, facts and information checking on the internet);
Projeto Comprova – https://projetocomprova.com.br/ (the Project gathers 28 different journalists from Brazil to uncover and investigate misleading information, invented or deliberately fake, about public politics that are shared on social media or through message apps);
E-Farsas – https://www.e-farsas.com/ (With the intention of using internet itself to demystify the stories being shared around);
Tip number 3: Be suspicious of info that you receive from groups or conversations through social media apps.
A message, be it with a link that redirects you to another website or just on the message itself, it’s the biggest indication that the news is fake.
You know that message that your aunt sends on the family group or your uncle forwards to all his contacts with diverse information, specially about diseases and politicians?
“The interim Health Minister, Eduardo Pazuello said “death certificates won’t be able to notify “suspected of Covid-19″. They’ll have to make counter-proof and it’ll only be there with the positive result, the party is over.”” – Messages like this, which is fake news, about Covid-19 informations are being spreaded more and more on Brazilian social media, and that’s why it’s important to proof and search reliable sources to inform yourself in the right way!
Did you receive a message about any information as a chain mail or without a reliable url? Be suspicious and search for similar information on reliable sources.
Tip number 4: Never share an info you’re not sure it’s real.
Have in mind that fake news spread and get stronger with sharing: it’s not enough not falling for fake news, fighting this kind of information is essencial.
People with bad intentions searching for worrying or privileging people or cases release those fake informations and use sharing machanisms and social media so that each time more people read and believe in info that might affect the lives of many others. So, when you judge some news to be fake – or if it doesn’t have a reliable source – don’t spread: don’t contribute to this practice!
Specially during this time of pandemics and elections (and in all info and moments in which you receive fake news too) don’t believe in everything that gets to you. Do your research, search for reliable sources, question sources and search for more info!
Let’s make the world a better place by doing or part!
Politics and Society Organization Week at Lune Station
As we mentioned before, we used this last week to talk about some sensitive subjects – always using as base medias that can help us understand things in a less didactic and more interesting manner!
Therefore, the links to this week’s posts are bewow, about three movies with controversial themes, but of great importance, in case there’s interest on reading them: