Fake news is not new, but the use of the term has changed and now takes in false reporting, misinformation, ‘spin’, conspiracy theories and reporting that some people disagree.
For a long time, reporting first on breaking news has been an important pursuit for journalists and news outlets. They need to be the first to get views or clicks. But being first can come with the risk of misreporting information.
Fake news might not always be 100% fake. Instead, there could be parts of it that are false, like quotes from experts or small details. People may also say a story is ‘fake news’ if they don’t agree with what’s reported. Fake news might also leave out important information that could change how a reader understands and reacts to an issue.
This is a confusing time for us all, and sometimes it can be challenging to know what to believe. Research published by Ofcom shows half of all UK adults exposed to fake news regarding Coronavirus in the first week of April.
Young people are spending much more time online and are likely to be exposed to much more fake news than usual. Young people need careful guidance on how to identify fake news and misinformation online.