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Fact v. Fiction - Fake News: What is Fake News?

Post-Truth Era

In 2016, Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as Word of the Year. Oxford defines “post-truth” as “an adjective defined as 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.'” The Post-Truth Era is a social phenomenon that appeals to people’s emotions rather than their logic, making them more likely to ignore concrete evidence and facts in favor of what they believe ought to be true based on personal beliefs.  

This is the crux of what is more commonly known as the fake news phenomenon. While this is not a new concept, the term has seen increasing usage in the political sphere since 2016. In the age of social media and social messaging apps, information is plentiful and easily accessible, which means the proliferation of inaccurate or biased information is far more likely. 

Why is this important to you?

Fake news is a threat

In the Information Age you deserve accurate and comprehensive information.  Encountering lies and biased information by deceptive means is frustrating, not to mention time consuming.  Everyone deserves the truth.

Fake news is dangerous

Individuals can act in harmful ways after reading fake news.  A recent example is the QAnon Conspiracy, whose proponents believe President Trump is waging a secret war against malicious government figures. This conspiracy has led to online and offline threats; in one notable example, a man was arrested on charges of terrorism.  The spreading of lies and deceit creates hostility.

Fake news can damage your reputation

Sharing fake news or using it to support an argument can diminish your standing and credibility among your peers and colleagues. 

Fake news creates distrust in all news

Accusations made against credible news organizations cause mistrust in those organizations.  These accusations can lead to a general mistrust of all media sources, including quality media outlets with high journalistic standards.


Throughout this guide there are links to outside sources that are being used as examples of fake, biased, satirical, and  misleading news sites. These internet links are provided to you as a courtesy. Walden University, LLC. (Walden) does not own or operate and is in no way responsible for the content of the web sites to which you will be directed upon accessing the links. Walden makes no representations or warranties as to the sites’ content, does not attest to the accuracy or propriety of any information located there and does not endorse the sites or information on the sites in any way.