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Fake news is a term that was barely used prior to 2016, but has now become common and used for many different types of news. Fake news "in its purest form, is completely made up manipulated to resemble credible journalism and attract maximum attention and with it, advertising revenue." Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/18/what-is-fake-news-pizzagate on January 30, 2017.
No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4). Some articles fall under more than one category. Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not. It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.
"Facebook engagement" is a term that is used when people "like" or "share" something. It is usually meant to shock the reader into a reaction. It is through the reaction or engagement that these fake news outlets make money. Each click or share generates income through their advertising on the pages.
Beyond politics, fake news is aiding in creating a "post-truth" society where people are reading different things and regarding both as fact. This hurts the value of real, objective facts on people's ability to make decisions.
See larger graphic here.
Fake news has real world consequences. In December of 2016, a 28 year old man named Edgar Welch brought a loaded AR-15 rifle into Comet Ping Pong, a popular Washington D.C. pizzeria. He did so because he had read an article online that claimed that Hillary Clinton was holding children there as part of a child trafficking conspiracy. This was completely made up, however, Welch really thought that it was true. Welch was able to fire the rifle, however, no one was hurt as he was apprehended by police.
1. Opinion/Editorials: are NOT fake news even if they differ from your own. Some opinions in newspapers are called editorials. Fake news has a specific intent to deceive. Opinions are a person's analysis of information based on their perception of facts. Since the internet makes it possible for anyone to publish anything, it is up to the reader to discern the difference between a writer's opinion and fact.
2. Actual news outlets reporting on real events (again, even if you do not agree with the content, or believe it is biased).