Tech Focus: Fake News

By Rob Giuffre

We live in an age where technology has made the dissemination of information as seamless as the human thought process itself.   People can literally connect their computers to the internet and broadcast their own personal stream of consciousness, own opinion and virtually anything else –  including fake news.

Just within the last news cycle a fake story went viral when a bogus report spread across the internet and then eventually newspapers, televised local news and just about every other iteration of old and new media.  You might recall this fake news event: the cable company covering Boston had broadcast hardcore transsexual pornography on its CNN channel for approximately one half hour.  This NEVER happened.  When we look into how exactly this rumor spread so quickly and across so much of media, one gets a better understanding of how fake news comes into existence and takes hold.

So how exactly did this fake story spread?  One tweet.  One tweet from one person with only a few dozen followers.  

This one tweet happened to use the right hashtags and caught the attention of a reporter who wrote it up and editors who published the report, which then caught the attention of other reporters and yet more reporters.  Before anyone could confirm the details of the story, a giant stupid set of dominoes was toppled into action and this very fake news was being spread across old and new media alike.

And guess what?  Russians weren’t needed to spread this fake news; neither were unscrupulous web experts utilizing click-bait algorithm manipulators.  All that was required to spread this fake news were real reporters who failed to do their jobs properly; real reporters who have seemingly forgotten what real journalism is supposed to entail.  

It seems as if these real reporters are in such a rush to report an event first that being factually correct plays second fiddle.

President Obama has jumped on the need to regulate fake news bandwagon.  He recently commented to the press “If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect.  We won’t know what to fight for.  And we can lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market-based economies and prosperity that we’ve come to take for granted.”  

All this talk and pressure has lead Facebook, Twitter, Google and other new media outlets into issuing promises that they would crack down on the scourge of humanity and democracy that is fake news.

Naughty lists have already been produced by these new media giants detailing fake news outlets (suspiciously almost all of which just happen to have a conservative political slant).  Talking heads on television are telling the public that this problem is unique to the modern internet age and action must take place to help people understand if the media they ingest is copasetic or harmful.  

We can only imagine cavemen chiefs telling their tribe the same when primitive man first started drawing on cave walls.  Or renaissance age kings saying the same during the advent of the printing press.  For thousands of years of human history, people have managed to determine which information they are receiving is real and which is fake on their own without the help of big brother media.


Rob Giuffre is a Network+ and A+ certified computer/network technician and sole owner of RatCat Computers. Call 347-538-6231 for a free quote and to schedule a service appointment for any computer or network issue.  We appreciate, respect and value all of our clients

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