Misinformation and fake news circulate the internet everyday. Recently, there was a fake news Facebook page taken down for spreading misinformation and publishing fake North Carolina news stories.
With the primary elections coming up, people want to know where this misinformation comes from and how to separate fact from fiction.
Deen Freelon is an associate professor at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media who specializes in political expressions through digitized media. He has researched how misinformation is spread and the motivations behind it, as well as what people can do to prevent the spreading of false information. Staff writer Taylor Heeden spoke with Freelon about how voters can determine what is true and what is not.
The Daily Tar Heel: What are the motivations behind the circulation of misinformation or fake news?
Deen Freelon: Well, a number of different parties can create it for a number of different reasons. One reason is political in motivations, so that is people who want to bring about a particular political outcome. Whether that’s suppressing people, making it less likely that certain people will vote or getting a certain candidate elected, that kind of thing. Another motivation is financial. Another reason people do it is to harm a particular individual or individuals.