In the age of the social web, facts are ambiguous and hot-take headlines are ubiquitous.
The decline of traditional media gatekeepers coupled with the rise of social media has contributed the erosion of popular consensus. Algorithmically driven and search engine optimized "fake" news is a real problem.
Or is it?
Powered by programmatic advertising, so-called "fake" news articles are cheaply produced web assets that mimic many of the tactics employed by legitimate news outlets, including site code, headlines, and other elements optimized for search engines and social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Of course, many search and social optimization tactics are widely used by thousands of legitimate publishers. "Fake" news content, however, grabs traffic with misleading or untrue headlines and content and preys on the viral mechanics of sites like Facebook and Google to acquire additional traffic.
Some argue that "fake" news is harmful, and no doubt an uninformed or misinformed culture is undesirable. On the other hand, "fake" news asks an age-old question about technology platforms: Are sites like Facebook, Google, and Twitter responsible for policing the content posted by users on their systems?
SEE: How risk analytics can help your organization plug security holes (Tech Pro Research)
TechRepublic wants to know what you think about "fake" news. Is it really a problem? How big is the problem? Who is responsible for the problem? Answer our tech news poll and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
- Fake news is everywhere. Should the tech world help stop the spread? (TechRepublic)
- Election tech: Lies, damned lies, and statistics (TechRepublic)
- Silicon Valley CTO explains why Trump happened (TechRepublic)
- Video: FBI cybersecurity chief talks about aftermath of Wikileaks, Snowden, and 2016 election (TechRepublic)
- Fake news: It's not just for politics anymore (ZDNet)
- How to avoid getting conned by fake news sites (CNET)
- Don't get fooled by these fake news sites (CBS News)
Dan Patterson has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.