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Fake News: Vocabulary

Useful vocabulary when discussing fake news


The subject of Fake News has its own vocabulary which will be useful in discussion,

understanding and further reading you may want to do:

Big Data: Extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.  Research organizations and corporations use the information that people react to on social media to collect information. Big data is often used to predict people's reactions to certain messages for marketing and political gain. 

Clickbait (on the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page and therefore bringing traffic (and advertising revenue) to that page.  

Confirmation bias: Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea/concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views (prejudices) one would like to be true. 

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 (and all other web outlets reliant on Facebook) make money.  Each click or share generates income through their advertising on the pages.

Fact: is generally understood to refer to something with actual existence, or presented as having objective reality. 

Filter Bubble: Customized results from search engines that are geared to the individual based on that person's past search preferences. It means two people searching for the same thing receive a different sequence of results.  The Wall Street Journal recently made a graphic called 'Blue Feed, Red Feed' which pulls posts from a Facebook study showing how people with different political ideologies are seeing different news. It can be found here:  You can 'pop' your filter bubble by following a wide variety of news. 

Post-truth: the Oxford English Dictionary defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Propaganda: the spreading of ideas, information, falsehoods or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person. Ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause. 

The Stanford Study: A study by the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), about student ability to reason about information they see on the Internet and the ability to distinguish advertisements from news articles or identify where information came from. An executive summary of the study can be found here:

Website traffic: used to describe how many people visit a certain website.