We’re currently in the midst of a “fake news” revolution. Twelve months ago such a term didn’t exist, now a year on (and one US election later) - it’s a household phrase.
Back in December, Facebook said it would make more effort to flag fake news stories, but sadly, clickbait articles and questionable headlines still roam the platform.
However, there is a rebellion forming.
In March, The Independent was the first crusader in the media world to take a (proper) stand against fake news, as they launched a division dedicated to exposing any abuse of the truth in the media.
Starting in April, they'll brand any content created by the new team as “In Fact” and will encourage journalists to look out for questionable stories – especially on promoted stories platforms such as Outbrain.
This is a progressive move for the world of media and one that other publishers should follow.
If we’re going to break through, more titles need to create teams devoted to debunking fake stories and exposing them to the public. Doing so will also heighten their credibility as a publisher and demonstrate total transparency. After all, the industry heavily relies on trust from readers and fake news is tainting it.
Editor of The Independent, Christian Broughton says that it’s important to confront the phenomenon head-on - and he's right. It’s crucial for the respectability of the media world and for keeping that all-important trust with readers.
“In Fact is as much an ethos as it is a practice,” said Leonard. “The Independent has always gone for more considered pieces, whether features or long-reads, but to deliver that and have a dedicated section for this [debunking] is now key.” Christian Broughton, editor of The Independent, said fake news is propagating ignorance by conning and manipulating voters and added that the publisher wants to “confront the phenomenon head on.”