fake news | KERA News

fake news

Shutterstock

A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington is developing algorithms to detect automated accounts — also known as "bots" — that spread misinformation online.

The project focuses on Twitter bots that spread fake news and their threat to national security. But identifying the characteristics of these bots can help the everyday social media user, too.

Fake news has been on Maggie Farley's mind further back than 2016 when President Trump brought the term into the vernacular.

Farley, a veteran journalist, says we've had fake news forever and that "people have always been trying to manipulate information for their own ends," but she calls what we're seeing now "Fake news with a capital F." In other words, extreme in its ambition for financial gain or political power.

"Before, the biggest concern was, 'Are people being confused by opinion; are people being tricked by spin?' " Now, Farley says, the stakes are much higher.

Here's the biggest understatement of the year: 2016 was the most disruptive moment the mainstream American news media have faced in a very long time.

That's not because so many media outlets misread the presidential election, although that is part of it. And it's not just because so-called "fake news" has become a genuine issue, prompting Facebook and other social media outlets to address fraudulent items formatted to look like legitimate news reports — a long-needed change.

On Texas Ag Chief Sid Miller's Facebook, Fake News Flows Freely

Dec 3, 2016
Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

Thousands of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's followers on social media might believe that terrorists are — in his words —preparing "for their jihad against the state and our nation” from a training compound outside of Houston.

Sarita Is Safe: 'Attack' On The South Texas Town Is Fake

Jul 15, 2014
Kenedy County

A fake news story has people panicking about a South Texas town being attacked, but all is safe and quiet in Sarita – despite what you might read online.