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What do Fake news Do?

Updated on June 23, 2017

Fake news, another excuse?

Is fake news, another excuse? Or does it empower us in meeting new challenges?

Is fake news a real threat? Yes, I think the world thinks so.

But I think otherwise. No, it is just another excuse; which we have come to use, to prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead.

What it Does

Of late there is much discussion about the ease with which news can be manipulated using modern technology. Particularly about how, such falsified information can be used to influence the free expression of our choice, an important feature of democracy. And of course, how this can cause major disruptions in our society, both by eliminating the ones who are best fit and perhaps a natural choice, and by promoting the ones who are not fit enough and in addition, desperate. Those at the disadvantaged end decry, calling it as a damage caused entirely by fake news. And those at the other end ignore this, trying to pass it off quietly as people’s choice, and giving new definition to news, for example, as alternate facts. The atmosphere continues to be rife with pointed discussions, which in any case, will progress unhindered, at least till new instances of such a disruption emerge.

What Do You Say?

Fake news benefits us

See results

Is it Worrisome?

Should there be such an alarm about fake news? Aren’t we all free to choose, the news we chose to be influenced by? Assigning superlative status to whatever is of one’s own interest, while considering all other views on the same matter as just ordinary, is not an unknown thing among us. Only thing is that everything associated with the domain of news assumes gigantic proportions.

I agree. Modern, especially digital technology offers unparalleled convenience, extreme ease, and the opportunity, to influence the outcome even before things are set to start. So also are the facilities available as part of the same technology or that can be instituted at short notice, to check for such interference. Or to institute measures, which act in opposition. This therefore is a level playing field for both the sides. The only factor of real significance is the availability of resources, like knowhow, supply of trained manpower, etc. As long as such things are more or less in balance, do we need to worry about this issue?

No, especially in such a case, I feel the society need not worry much about this issue at all. A ‘digital war’ may go on between the ones who would like to influence, and the ones who would oppose or would like to influence in a different way.

In fact there is nothing great in this. Our propensity to blame something else, for all the faults on our part, is not a new thing. Putting blame on someone or something else is a well known trick, which has been in existence since the dawn of history. Only thing is that, in the present world, we resort to such tactics more often, and more widely. As a result, such attempts can be observed in all social transactions we engage in, if it befits us.

For Example..

A good example of this is our approach to crime. Watch how our newspapers report this, or how the state takes note of such instances. After every crime, especially those involving injury to people, a standard part of the news is: “The accused was under the influence of alcohol”. This also forms part of the offence, whether or not the accused was under its influence being shown as a significant input. The more I thought about this, the greater, my conviction became. It is clear; this input need not add anything to the crime. Having alcohol may be considered as another crime, though.

But we religiously maintain our predilection with alcohol while dealing with any crime, was drunk being a good reason to condone it, if so desired. And this is true even for crimes of the worst kind, like rape. That such an excuse is being freely accepted by society to prevent it from blaming abjectly, a fellow human. Else, we might have to admit to the prevalence of people among us, who are naturally blameworthy. Read:

The Real Reason

But things are changing, more so, our approach to alcohol. And its property to add a sort of ‘extenuating circumstance’ is on the decline, firstly because of its dwindling popularity, secondly due its limited (say) bandwidth (there are many crimes where drunkenness can’t be a pertinent factor!), and thirdly owing to the free availability of substitutes offering greater convenience. We need to devise new ways to protect the fellow humans.

Now, luckily we have one more excuse to protect our brethren from the ill effects of whatever they do – FAKE NEWS. Now we can, rather than taking responsibility for the wrong actions on our part, resort to a time tested response and say, “Fake news made me do it”

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