2016 saw the unprecedented rise of ‘fake’ news with false news stories surrounding the American election creating more total engagement on Facebook compared to 19 major US news outlets combined. Dale Lovell, Chief Digital Officer at ADYOULIKE, explains why the primary reason for the rise in ‘fake’ news is money-driven, not political.
One of the most worrying trends to emerge this year was the explosion of ‘fake’ news across the internet. There is a clear difference between misinformed reporting and outright false news that the media industry needs to address. While the media made much of the political agenda behind a lot of fake news – more often the primary reason for the huge growth we’ve seen in false news is money. Creating such salacious clickbait delivers huge traffic to publishers’ websites who are willing to publish these fake stories.
The imitation of news has far-reaching consequences that can’t be ignored. Firstly, such fake news generates huge interest online. Following the US election it was revealed that false news stories surrounding the race for the White House had created more total engagement on Facebook compared to 19 major US news outlets combined. Secondly, and most disturbing is that people can believe that this fake news is actually factually correct.
Looking into 2017, there’s a possibility that the growth in ‘fake’ news will also become quite prevalent in the UK. Sadly, we’re not immune to this phenomenon either.
Advertisers can really help to solve this issue by paying closer attention to where their ads run and the environment in which their brand messages appear. For most publications – once the financial incentives for running click-bait, fake headlines disappear – the number of false news stories we see will decline.
Chief Digital Officer