Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee is a computer scientist. He invented the world wide web. In 2004, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his extraordinary work and achievements.

Fake News on the Web

On the 28th birthday of world wide web, Sir Tim has voiced concerns about fake news and its impacts. He wants to do something about unethical political harvesting and mining of data.

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Fake news on the web can be a menace

The Problem

He said that 3 new alarming trends have emrged in the last 12 months. He said that misuse of data has created an adverse affect on free speech. He also pointed out the internet blind spots that are harming democracy.

Most people get their daily dose of news through social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. These websites are operated on financial incentives. They are paid whenever someone clicks a link. This means that these websites will show you news based on what they think you might like. Through the use of data science and bots, people can manipulate the system to spread false information for financial and political gains.

Exploitation of the web for personal motives prevents people from using web for exploring important topics like rare health issues, religion etc.

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Sir Tim also chided politicians who use targeted marketing. This means targeting voters using algorithms to show them messages they will approve of. This involves tailoring campaigning theme according to the group you are addressing. Sometimes these themes are completely conflicting. This is the worst way of misleading and misguiding people and does not reflect the true spirit of democracy.

The Solution

Sir Tim has urged people to demand for better protection laws. He also requested Google and Facebook to do more for tackling fake news.

Also Read: Facebook Launches New Tool To Flag News

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Facebook has already begun the crackdown on fake news
Five Types of Fake News
  • Intentionally Deceptive: News items created with the intention of deceiving readers.
  • Jokes Taken Seriously: Satirical news web sites like the Onion and Daily Mash might be taken seriously by those who do not know what they are about.
  • Hoaxes: Sometimes presenters themselves do not know that they are reporting fake news.
  • Slanted Reporting: Only reporting facts that build your argument and hiding the ones that negate it.
  • Contentious Truth: Some controversies are unsolved and there are no clear answers. While reporting, reporters may get intentionally or unintentionally biased.

Have you ever been misguided because of a viral fake news? Let us know below!

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