Beware of fake news

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THE JOURNALISM industry may be facing its biggest enemy to date: fake news.

Everything is so available on social media that even fake news is shared there; fake accounts and websites are subscribed there. Posts are not regulated in the Internet, meaning everyone has the right to upload whatever pleases him.

It is disturbing that the spate of fake news has turned many netizens into gullible Internet users, who share information and propaganda from unverified websites and Facebook accounts.

Perhaps, one of the people to blame is Mocha Uson. She has called the mainstream media as “presstitutes,” which she defined as “an individual reporter or news broadcaster, or a media news group, who reports to be unbiased but is in fact tailoring their news to suit someone’s goal, usually corporations big business political affiliates.”

Uson cited several news organizations for allegedly delivering “fake news stories” to people.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), an organization aimed at promoting responsible journalism, urged the social media users to be wary of the articles they post on their Facebook and Twitter timelines, as they may be “sharing propaganda as truth — and thus, helping to dumb down people who access the Internet and social media.”

Fortunately, the CMFR took the initiative to determine unverified websites proliferating on the Internet. CMFR has advocated the Think Before You Click campaign as a form of warning against spreading propaganda disguised as truth.

It has listed down 13 websites, which according to the media watchdog have the distinction of producing news articles out of viral and trending posts in the Internet. The list included websites such as Pinoy Trending, Pinoy Trending News, News Trend PH, Asian Policy Press, Public Trending, FiliNews PH and Trending Viral.

But there has to be a reinforcement from the government. They could not just let the flow of information be disrupted by some fake news. A law that would minimize the harm of unwanted social media mischiefs is what this country needs.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan has filed Senate Resolution 271 that seeks to conduct a probe on the spate of fake news and unverified information through various social media platforms, particularly Facebook.

“Facebook’s role in this digital age has become very crucial in the practice of democracy as it moved from a social networking site to a media company,” Pangilinan said in a press release. “We are hoping that Facebook would take a lead in helping the public in discerning truth from lies and fabrication that are being spread massively to influence public opinion and national discourse.”

One click on the mouse could either raise the awareness of the people or make them more gullible. I hope that those who refuse to see the perils of spreading fake news and propaganda could finally give up their unethical use of the social media.

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