Fake News and Disinformation in the 21st Century: An Overview

Abstract :

Fake news is not new. It is an old phenomenon that has existed before the printing press as rumors and false stories have been around as long as humans have stayed together in a group or society. In the 16th and 17th centuries of information sharing, pamphlets were printed and contained highly exaggerated and totally false and concocted stories. These efforts were essentially made to drive sales and gain readership. However, channels of information sharing have changed as technological changes have advanced and communication in the 21st century is a different context. Information can be shared and accessed within seconds as a result of the advent and rapid growth of the social media. This has made it possible for fake news to move as quick as possible. This paper presents an overview of the concept of fake news, its various forms, fake news in social media and is anchored on the media richness theory. The study finally proposed critical thinking, fact checking and fake news literacy as means to reduce fake news spread on Social media and further calls for journalists and citizen journalists to combat fake news by making the truth louder on social media platforms.