miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2017

News on fake news

We have lived more than a full year under a growing worry for fake news in social media. It all started US presidential election, some journalist also discovered some hints that there where also present in the Brext referendum. Although their presence in France´s Presidential election and Germany´s Parliament election were apparently weaker than expected, the question of fake news stayed as a background sound for all the year.

In spite of the situation described above, the worry about fake news were uneven in the European Union and stayed at low level of prioritisation for many Member States. Although in september it was clear that the European Commission was planning some initiative on the issue, the Presiden Juncker decided to include in his letter of intent for 2018 but did not mentioned it in his address to the Parliament. All the clues pointed in the direction that fake news would stay as a minor issue in European policy, if not completely dissapear from it.

But some policy-makers apparently want to maintain fake news on the front page in the same manner that Hearst furnished the Cuban War after the sinking of the Maine ("Everything is quiet. There is no trouble. There will be no war. I wish to return." To which Hearst's reply was: "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."). The dramatic events around the secession intentions of Catalonia from Spain have provided new fuel for the EC intentions to develop policy initiatives around fake news. The EC is exploited the opportunity and, what is more valuable due the Council mechanism, has won a relevant ally for its intention (Spain).

Certainly, there have been examples of fake news and doubtful pictures on the Catalonia crisis.  The EC has shown some of this pieces of fake news, curiously biased on one direction only when there have been example from both, but there have been little detail about the impact on the opinion of the population or even the actual distribution beyond Twitter´s retweets and Facebook´s likes.  This hype on fake news is logically supported by the traditional media, a logical support due to their fierce competence with online platforms as the main news distribution channel.

It is impossible to deny the existence of fake news on online platforms, even it is possible the involvement of governments, in what we can call a kind of revival of cold war. However, perhaphs we should be also critical analyzers of the news on fake news, they also could have an intention.

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