Just by spending 5 minutes on social media, you will either encounter photos of adorable animals or fake news. Cue the horror music! Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary’s word of the year should be socially relevant and a clever use of word play.
They also clarified that if you’re thinking fake news is two words, it’s actually just one. Why? Because the combination of these two words create a whole new meaning very different from its individual words.
What is this fake news that you speak of?
It’s kind of like an oxymoron. And this is one of the reasons why Macquarie was really sold to make it 2016’s word of the year. News is (supposed to be) facts from a reliable source. But alas, by the power vested in them by them, the rise of social media accounts claiming to be “credible” makes distinguishing “real” news from the fake a necessary action. We just wish people were more aware of this.
Macquarie also defined fake news as “disinformation and hoaxes published on websites for political purposes or to drive web traffic, the incorrect information being passed along by social media.” Relying mostly on internet
You might be familiar with this meme:
— Alex Harris (@AlexHarrisJDMBA) January 22, 2017
It is one of the most popular political memes of all time and has reached more places in three days than I probably will in the next few years.
This is Sean Spicer, Trump’s spokesperson, who bluntly lied about the size of the crowd during the inauguration. After which, the whole internet turned him into a meme that has only one goal: to speak of obvious lies.
Okay, it’s kind of funny. But this brings about serious implications. One, that fake news is abound. Go on Facebook and tell everyone your president just created something believable, like maybe a solution to cancer. And a believable reason, probably thanks to his or her principal assistance in the Health department. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a hundred people to like and share. There you go, a hundred people believing in one made up lie.
And second, not everyone knows how to distinguish fake news from the real. There are many factors why this is the case, but we fear this will cause a lot of trouble in the near future. Until a feasible solution to this is proposed, fake news will continue to spread and people will continue to believe it. The hardest part perhaps, is making them “un-believe” it.