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This ‘ever so popular’ term, rewarded in 2017, is even more prevalent in 2019! Initially, it was brought to the forefront of our minds on a hard-hitting scale by US president Donald Trump when disarming unfavourable press coverage of himself, and it doesn’t show any signs of being archived just yet. 
 
So, what is the truth? 
 
Have you ever been sat at your desk at lunchtime scrolling happy on social media or at home enjoying the rarity of silence, when a sensational headline (otherwise known as “click bait”) grabs your intrigue, and leads your curiosity to explore the said title’s story on a website and believing it? You are not alone. 
Fake News Websites outwardly aim to appear genuine often for financial (through the form of advertising), or political gain. They will cast their line with eye-catching, sensationalised bait into the digital ocean, then will real in curious readers to their Fake News Website keep net. 
Misinformation, whether produced by shady marketers, or other digital demons for personal profit can confuse our perception of the world. The power it possesses stands to be one of the greatest threats to democracy and free debate. 
 
 
Let’s use a prime example of Fake News functioning at it’s best. During the 2016 US presidential election, 20 of the top Fake News stories earned themselves more engagement on Facebook than the same number of large publication or broadcast programmes. A single rogue fake news website made up to $40,000 per month in the build-up to the election! 
In September 2017, an inquiry into Disinformation and Fake News was launched to investigate the issue of Fake News due to an increase of hoaxes and leaders of misinformation spreading Fake News across social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Evidence was gathered from several sources, an interim report was published in July 2018, and a final report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee was published on 19th February 2019. As a break-down into parts of the report’s content, social media companies are obliged to take down sources of harmful content, including Fake News that can distort our perception of legitimate information. 
In a response to tackle the damaging issue, Facebook has employed a UK fact-checking service to fight against the domination of fake news. Founded 9 years ago, Full Fact charity will get to work by reviewing countless fact-based reporting stories, images and videos and rate them in order of accuracy from true, false to a combination of both. We can also pull up our sleeves and join in the fight by flagging up content we believe to be fiction. This will be an incredibly slow process, but is certainly a step in the right direction! 
On your marks, get set……go! 
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