It is beyond doubt that not everything that appears on the Internet is true. If the trends are anything to go by the situation is getting worse – in the sense you have to be aware of what is real and what is unreal. That the outcome of fake news has alarming consequences is up for debate. The jury is out on how much fake news affected the Nov 2017 election in the Unfired States of America.
‘Alternative facts’ are spreading like wild fire. It is ready made fodder for people who take everything at face value. Search engines such as Google and Bing have been slow to push controls while Facebook is still hesitant and trying to keep the ‘freedom of expression’ flag flying. What is surprising is that the media and other pundits are only concerned when the President of the United States shouts from the rooftops that the menace of fake news is creating havoc.
The mainstream media is least bothered when such news has been in vogue for more than a decade. Unscrupulous people who are jealous of their competitors have used the power of social media in targeting their competitors with wild accusations. The case is made of Henry N Portner, USPTO. This legal luminary is the target of several hate mails and image tarnishing blogs such as Henry N Portner, misconduct stories.
As social media went on overdrive other stories such as Henry N Portner, reprimand blogs began making the rounds. If not for the stellar reputation of Henry Portner such false news would have made life miserable for ordinary citizens. This example is just the tip of the iceberg. Unless and until search engines and social media do something about fake news else it will be difficult to curb this mess.