Editor’s note: Fake news is a worldwide problem. This article provides an insight into how fake news is generated and discusses some of the difficulties faced by entities who are responsible for determining the veracity of news that is circulated through social media
We are at a stage where the genial news environment committed to truth and public interest is under pressure
In 2012, there was an air of innocence when I took over as the Readers’ Editor of this newspaper. Terms such as ‘accuracy’, ‘fairness’, ‘authentic sources’, and ‘verification’, and C.P. Scott’s dictum “Comment is free, but facts are sacred” did possess a striking potential to keep journalism on the straight and narrow path. Algorithm was a part of mathematics and technology and it had hardly revealed its stranglehold on the information ecology. Artificial intelligence was a footnote. Albert Einstein’s wry remark, “Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity,” was invoked sometimes to prove a point. However, the march of technology with its myriad participatory platforms, aided by people’s desire to believe what they want to believe, has made the task of a news ombudsman difficult.
SOURCE: The Hindu