#02: How to stop the fake news cycle

One major trend is developing rapidly and is the topic of conversation almost daily – fake news. The emergence of fake news has many feeling a sense of mistrust. In trying to get to the bottom of what fake news truly means, we sat down with Richard Quest. Richard Quest is CNN's foremost international business correspondent and presenter of Quest Means Business. Based in New York, he is one of the most instantly recognizable members of the CNN team.

“We must distinguish between nefarious behavior by various states creating these groups online, what the President of the United States Donald Trump calls fake news - which are simply things he doesn’t agree with, or real fake news which is something simply wrong," Richard Quest says. 

False Facts

According to Quest, we don’t need to call this category fake news, these are simply misstated facts that make it into circulation and nothing more. News companies can be wrong, facts can be falsely stated, and quotes can be misconstrued. In this case, there’s not much to be done other than fact checking and whistle blowing. Quest says, “we need to point and say no, that’s wrong.” As far as consequences, this seems to be the most harmless type of fake news.

Making headlines nearly daily, Trump’s fake news consists of factually accurate information that the President simply doesn’t agree with. Because the facts don’t align with his viewpoints, Trump deems these stories fake news, hoping to strip credibility from the news source and bolster his platform. “If CNN, NBC, BBC, CNBC are all fake news, if everyone is wrong and he is right,” Quest says, “society has a much bigger problem than just journalism.”

State Sponsored Manipulation

Recent years have proven that lies certainly spread faster on social media than the truth does. Through social media, focus groups, and fraudulent news sources, various governments have been able to push their agenda onto the unsuspecting public.

With far reaching consequences for some of the biggest democracies on the planet, this may the most worrisome of the genres of fake news Quest mentioned. “This tactic was designed to frustrate and destroy the social process,” says Quest, “Russia possibly meddling in one of the largest democracies is very serious.”

What's next?

In order to stop this fake news cycle, social media companies need to step in. Facebook has taken major strides recently, platforms are not yet doing enough to protect the public from this state sponsored manipulation.

On the other hand, the public needs to be on guard and educated. While the majority of the public look for information that aligns with their views, however, what is needed is a better understanding of how to identify sources that may have illicit intentions.  

Interested in learning more? Listen to the Future Forecast podcast to hear more from Richard Quest on fake news, Brexit, and what this means for the future of our economy.