23 Aug Not Only Fake News
Humankind has made great advances in technology.
Because of the internet and social media born from it, each individual is able to interact with people from other countries. Open interaction with people of different views has widened every individual’s perception and knowledge. Hence, every person has become opinionated.
This has capacitated everyone to experience the peak of their right to freedom of speech. However, this privilege has a downside. Today, it is very much obvious how technology, internet, and social media have aided the spread of fake news.
What is Fake News?
Fake news is the most widespread threat to social media and authentic journalism. It often uses sensational and fabricated headlines to gain readers, shares, and internet click revenue. It has so much influence that it has circulated through mainstream media and attracted oblivious viewers.
Such instances always result in the alteration of people’s perception. Many are clueless that what they are reading or have read is a type of yellow journalism and propaganda. With eye-catching headlines, articles like these are easily propagated and have misled viewers.
The people behind such deeds are most likely successful when it comes to their goal of damaging a person or an agency, while they gain financially and politically.
For the majority of the viewers who are misled to comment on a discussion thread of a fake news article, commenting is the same as speaking their minds about a particular matter. They are so fixated on their right to freedom of speech.
Others may even go to the extent by using someone else’s picture as their profile just to taint someone else’s reputation. They are driven by their emotion of justice for the victim, but it is actually only their anger and selfish thoughts to state their opinions. Blinded, they don’t think twice about whether the article’s content is a hoax or not.
Any circumstance like this has a high possibility to backfire. For example, a certain individual has been shamed and humiliated by fake news. The article’s headline could take in any form of a sensational topic like abuse, sex scandal, or insult. The viewers, already persuaded that the content of the article is real, then proceed to comment violent remarks.
Immature actions by the blinded viewers also help in the spread of fake news articles whenever they mention people they know and share the article. One of which is the threatening of wthe subject by sending them a direct message.
As more and more people view the fake news, the humiliated person can lose his job and affect him in other areas of his life.
Protect Your Rights
The subject has the right to sue those irresponsible people who damaged his image and those who made violent remarks and threats against him. Cases like these fall under defamation, defined as any statement that hurts someone’s reputation.
Defamation can be of two forms. First, if the violent remark is done through writing and is published, it is called libel. Second, if the hurtful statement is done verbally, it is called slander. Thus, the subject of fake news is protected under the defamation law.
Because of social media, people have higher chances to make defamatory statements and to be sued. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more can immediately publish a statement. Any statement can reach thousands and millions of people and can even be saved through screenshots. It does not matter if the insulting and violent remark is published as a blog post, a Facebook status update, a tweet in Twitter, an Instagram video, and or a YouTube video—anyone can be sued.
It is always safe to bear in mind that there is a thin line between the right to freedom of speech and another’s right to protect their name and image from the public eye. Freedom of speech is also very different from making false accusations. It is best that people approach social media cautiously, maturely and responsibly. When it comes to reading news articles, check the sources and other news articles in regard to the specific topic. This for the purpose of not getting fooled by fake news.