• Safi Bello

How To Guide For: A Look At The Epidemic Of 'Fake News' + Gossip = Scandal --- Why Is There

I wanted to discuss a topic that Pope Francis addressed last week and that is the media's infatuation with 'fake news' and scandal. If you don't know who Pope Francis is let me tell you he is someone who represents hope, he is empathetic, an authentic leader, he is a servant leader and his higher purpose is to call people to God. So I am inclined to agree with Pope Francis when he makes a statement like this. But I want to take it a step further and add that it's not just the media it has become society in general. Human beings have this impulsive need to gossip and spread rumors and not really take into consideration what the consequences may be. People gossip and spread information without even verifying if it's true or false. Now in the modern world that we live in with technology like the internet, smartphones, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and other social media outlets it is so easy to go online and look someone up whether it be a celebrity, potential friend, friends, people you work with really, anyone. You can go online anytime and find something out about anyone and there are those who choose to spread what they find out online or what they see in the tabloids, media or information that has been passed down to them. Nowadays with Google anyone and everyone can search someone's name and study them before even meeting and giving a person the benefit of the doubt. So lets look at how gossip works. Say for example you meet someone lets say 'PersonA' for the first time and after one interaction with you, 'PersonA' seems to think they know everything there is to know about you, without actually knowing anything. Then that person 'PersonA' goes and tells someone else lets say 'PersonB' what they just learned about you after one interaction. That person, 'PersonB' has now just received information about you that is incomplete, inaccurate and more than likely a lie. But 'PersonB' believes 'PersonA' because what reason would 'PersonA' have to lie. So now 'PersonA' and 'PersonB' are telling everyone they know what they think about you and heard about you and this creates gossip. Another example lets say you have an acquaintance or a friend and you see that your lives are on different paths and you part ways with that acquaintance or friend, that individual may decide to start spreading lies about you to current friends, acquaintances, associates or anyone that will listen. The people receiving the information don't feel obligated or care to find out if the information is true. So this also creates gossip. The same with 'fake news' an influential, well respected media outlet runs a story based on speculation or gossip and without verifying that the information is 100% authentic runs the story, so that they can say that they were the first to run the story and before you know it other media outlets pickup the story and are running it. This 'fake news' is now read by hundreds, thousands even millions of people who believe what they are reading because it is coming from a credible, reliable source and that story now becomes chatter among readers who spread that information to friends, family, co-workers or anyone who hasn't seen the story and this 'fake news' story gets so big that it is difficult to get it under control and can lead to a scandal. 'Fake News' is nothing more than opinion formed by individuals who are not concerned with getting to the truth but more with being first, getting viewers, readers and basically getting ratings. So how do we stop the spread of 'fake news'. On Facebook there is now an option that allows you to report false news -- you can check out the step-by-step instructions on Buzzfeed. Stopping 'fake news' won't be easy, but it can be done. 'Fake news' can ruin a person's reputation and life the same with gossiping. People who gossip and spread false information do so because they don't feel good about themselves and spreading misinformation makes them temporarily feel better about themselves. When people can't come up with interesting discussions based on factual knowledge or ideas, gossip can excite people and make them interested. People gossip in order to hurt those whose popularity, talents, or lifestyle they envy. To learn more about the epidemic of 'fake news' + gossip = scandal -- click on the pictures below to read the articles.

Pope Francis Warns Media Against Infatuation With Scandal, Citing 'Coprophilia' - Read More from NPR
Pope Francis warns media against spreading disinformation - Read More from Politico
Pope warns media over 'sin' of spreading fake news, smearing politicians - Read More from Reuters
As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug at the Truth - Read More from The New York Times
Pope Francis thinks the media has a sh*t fetish - Read More from Mashable
Why Stopping 'Fake' News Is So Hard - Read More from Forbes

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