Did you hear the news that people were paid $3,500 to protest you at one of your rallies? Chances are that you have. Many people believed this story when the first heard it. However, it was fabricated by a man named Paul Horner. He elaborates in an interview with The Washington Post, “His [Your] campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.” Instances like this, where people decide to re-post something or share it without fact checking first, is the reason why fake news spreads so well. The problem of fake news becomes an increasing problem as people rely on social media and the internet for their news more and more.
There have been many instances where fake news has led someone to believe something that isn’t true. In one case, it is more extreme than others: the conspiracy of pizzagate. Pizzagate was a conspiracy that Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring connected by underground tunnels to a pizza place called Comet Ping Pong. A man named Edgar Welch caught on to this theory. He was an outwardly religious person that posted biblical verses and psalms along with pictures of his 2 children. He was previously interested in online conspiracies about 9/11 being staged by the US government as an excuse to have war. So, when he heard about a possible child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton, he started researching it online. After gaining some background on the issue, he drove to Washington DC from North Carolina to get to Comet Ping Pong. He proceeded to pull out an assault rifle and threaten workers there to reveal the children. He fired off 2-3 shots without injuring anyone. After realizing there was no captives in the restaurant, he peacefully surrendered to the police. This is one of the many problems about having fake news spreading.
Websites like abcnews.com.co and nbc.com.co imitate real news websites in an effort to either maliciously spread false news to the general public or do it for satire. Either way, it makes people believe false facts delivered through sites like these. Another way fake news spreads is through social media. This is one of the main ways fake news is started. People use sharing sites like 4chan, Twitter, Facebook, etc. to post something that people think looks like news: then bots come into play. Bots are pieces of software that perform a task for you: in this case liking posts. The “news” that is promoted by bots make it start to trend. The fact that other “people” liked it and supported the post, makes other people inclined to do the same. When the fake news starts to goes viral, it is usually covered by other corporate news sources. When this happens, it is either confirmed as being true, or debunked as fake news. Usually though, they aren’t fast enough and some people end up believing in it anyway. This was the case in the pizzagate shooting.
The spread of fake news becomes more and more prevalent with people switching to the internet for their news. This problem can partially be stopped, however. You can hire people to search for fake news websites and request that they either clearly label it as satire, or put a government warning before navigation to the website saying that the source isn’t truthful. You can't stop people from starting something on social media: that isn’t your job. The existence of fake news websites is hindering America’s knowledge. It is up to you, can you make America great again?