범람하는 가짜뉴스, 실태와 대처법은?
In an age where one can hear a pin drop on the other side of the globe thanks to advancements in internet and the media, it’s becoming harder to determine and avoid unreliable information.
As there exist people taking full advantage of such false stories to influence public opinion… let’s find out what can be done to avoid falling prey to fake news. The world is fighting against fake news, and Korea is no exception. Ahead of an early presidential election set for next month, the country is taking the menace of fake news seriously.
Hoax news stories are becoming increasingly sophisticated and systematic. What are the causes and consequences of fake news and what can be done to curb it?
Korea is on alert for fake news, as its early presidential election draws near on May 9.
Fake news and false propaganda against presidential candidates including a leading contender are flooding social media and major web portals.
The number of fake news posts, which stood at over 11,000 last year, already surpassed 77,000 after the first two months of 2017.
In response to the rampant spread of false stories, the National Election Commission designated the production and dissemination of fake news as an election crime, launching a major crackdown on them.
Fake news encompasses false reports, misinformation and intentional fictional stories.
The dangers of fake news came into the international spotlight, amid claims that it may have swung the U.S. presidential election last year.
During the final three months of the U.S. presidential campaign, false election stories generated over 8.7 million shares, reactions and comments, more than the 7.3 million, or what election content from major new websites generated.
“The story claiming the pope endorsed Trump is fake. But when Trump supporters read it, they take it as a fact and start disseminating the story. When the story reaches other Trump supporters or swing voters, it sways them towards Trump.”
Unconfirmed stories turn into facts, which in turn, sway people’s views. But why?
“People are drawn to stories that have the same beliefs and ideologies as theirs or that support them. But they reject views that are against their beliefs and ideologies. This leads to the selective consumption of news.”
Fake news stories can be easily created with the help of dedicated mobile apps.
If you type in the name of media outlet, title of story and content, this app instantly generates a new story.
The fabricated story is then widely shared and circulated via mobile messengers and social media.
“Social media is a powerful distribution network for news content. Once a story is spread on social media, it can shape and lead public opinion, swaying people’s views.”
In a recent survey of about 1,000 people, who were shown six news stories, some of which were true and some not, only 1.8 percent of respondents were able to identify them all correctly.
However, in Korea, there is still no legal basis to restrict fake news.
This is why experts are urging news sites, web portals and social media sites to develop a stronger sense of responsibility and establish their own fact-checking system.
“Freedom of speech gives people the power to express their ideas. There are concerns that policies to counter fake news might suppress this freedom, which is why there is hesitation in aggressively curbing them.”
“Those who produce and distribute news stories such as media outlets or web portals should actively prevent the spread of fake news and allow users to report inaccurate stories.”
Facebook, a well-known platform for fake news stories, has rolled out a “disputed” tag for potentially inaccurate stories.
In Korea, the leading mobile messenger Kakao has introduced a feature that allows users to flag hoax news stories.
“If you receive an unwanted Kakao Talk message from someone, including fake news, you have the option to report the user. Users with multiple reports filed against them are banned from sending messages or face other restrictions.
Recently, we have helped presidential candidates to create their official accounts. If we detect any fake news stories about a candidate, a notification is sent to the subscribers of that candidate’s account to deliver facts.”
Visit ‘Arirang News’ Official Pages