The Highly Infectious Digital Virus Essay
In 1994 when I was travelling as a teenager in Beijing, riding on the subway for the first time, my mother and I heard a man yelling, “Jackie Chan died of a car accident last night! One yuan for today’s issue!” Seeing him waving the stack of newspapers in his hand, I was shocked and immediately begged my mother to buy a copy for me. I can’t remember what exactly was in the paper, but I do remember the guy had cheated me with fake news - Jackie Chan is still alive today.
Now living in the US, and paying closer attention to the election, I had a similar stinging feeling restimulated by today’s fake news - dressed in a shiny new technology coat. “‘Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President’, ‘Barack Obama Admits He Was Born in Kenya’, or "Trump said in 1998 'If I were to run, I 'd run as a Republican. They 're the dumbest group of voters in the country '"(Cellan-Jones), or “FBI Agent Behind Clinton Email Leaks Found Dead in Murder-Suicide” a report headline in the Denver Guardian (Donath). Those were all bogus stories that were further shared by millions of users on social media.
Fake news are sensational news stories that are completely fabricated to deliberately mislead people to achieve economical or political benefits. While voters, news media, critics, and the whole world are trying to digest the results of 2016 election, the debate about fake news and social media’s role, especially Facebook, has become…