Fake News and its Many Incarnations        

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A U.K. parliamentary committee recently issued a report to explain the meaning of different kinds of fake news content. Not all false information is the same: some are parody, satire or misleading content, while others are fabricated or manipulated content.  Fake news has many incarnations.

Disinformation, Misinformation and Fake news are all different

The U.K. committee undertook an investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the influence of social media. Its report notes that fake news has no clear definition of its own, and is often simply used to label any statement disliked by the reader.

The committee tried to distinguish between misinformation and disinformation, defining disinformation as the intentional creation of false information to mislead, and misinformation as an act of sharing information without knowing that it’s wrong.

Other kinds of fake news are fabricated content, which is completely false; imposter content, which is impersonation of genuine or believable sources; manipulated content, which is distortion of genuine content; satire or parody, which is presenting false stories using humor in a way that makes them appear true; misleading content, which is the use of information in a misleading way; and finally, false context of connection, which is the use of factually accurate content to share false information by presenting it out of context.

How to spot fake news?

The Committee also suggested ways to identify false information. It cited suggestions for fact checkers to spot fake news, and recommended the use of algorithms to address the challenges of fake news and misinformation. Finally, it emphasized the importance of research into the methods by which disinformation and misinformation are created and spread.

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