There has been a lot of discussion and debate about fake news in recent years. It is yet another kind of misinformation.

BuzzFeed News editor Craig Silverman helped to popularize the term in 2014. Silverman was tracking misinformation as part of a larger research initiative associated with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. He first used “fake news” to label a fabricated article he came across about a Texas town allegedly quarantined because of an Ebola outbreak. Silverman defined fake news as “completely false information that was created and spread for profit.” What makes this kind of media particularly insidious is that it looks official, credible, and convincing.

Silverman along with other journalists began to write about fake news with increasing frequency to describe the disinformation surrounding the 2016 presidential election. A prominent instance concerned the discovery of teenagers in Macedonia making money by spreading untrue, pro-Donald Trump stories on Facebook.

Reference “Texas Town Quarantined After Family of Five Test Positive for the Ebola Virus,” National Report. Background theme image from Shutterstock.

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