A recent study found that the number of fake news headlines on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google has soared in the past three years, with the number on the social network alone reaching 1.7 million per day.
But what is fake news?
In a nutshell, it’s a fake news story that is not sourced, presented, or shared in any way by reputable media organisations, and which is designed to mislead the public about the truth.
In the case of fake media, it can be used as a weapon to spread misinformation or to undermine the credibility of independent journalism.
It can also be used to incite violence against journalists, including the assassination of one journalist and the kidnapping of another, as happened recently in the US.
“We are seeing a dramatic increase in the use of fake stories to stir up hatred and fear,” said Daniel J. Levinson, a professor of journalism at California State University, Fullerton, who led the study.
The rise of fake and fake news “is a major problem that has no clear cause.
We can see it in our own news and information consumption, and we see it everywhere, from social media platforms to news organisations.”
But fake news is not limited to news sources.
It also appears on television and on other media, such as radio and TV documentaries.
Fake news stories have been used by groups such as the Islamic State (IS) to spread propaganda about the group, as well as to influence public opinion in a number of countries.
What does the study say?
The researchers analysed data from 4,917 people who had subscribed to news sites on the internet in the last year.
They also analysed data on more than 20,000 websites in other countries.
The study showed that people who subscribed to more than 100 websites in a single month had a rate of sharing the most fake stories, while those who subscribed fewer than five sites had a higher rate of posting fake news.
Among the sites, the highest rate of false news was found on Facebook, where people shared about 7.7% of the stories they shared.
The rate was also higher among users on Twitter and YouTube.
On YouTube, the rate of shared content was 4.9% of all videos posted.
In total, more than 7.5 million stories were shared on social networks.
The average shared story was a fake one, with more than half the stories being fake.