Michelle Rosalia Sliepen
68% of Gen Z globally uses social media as a news source, even though globally 54% of Gen Z knows that social media is full of fake news. Youth consume news and entertaining content in the same place. 50% of 12-24 years olds believe that memes are a good way of spreading information. Although this also contributes to the blur between entertainment and news. What source do you get your information from? Comment below!
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Gen Z and Fake News
Fake news – false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke (Cambridge Dictionary, n.d.).
Fake news is an ever-evolving problem that can easily negatively affect democratic processes and social debates (Actieplan tegen Desinformatie, 2018).
Globally a minority of 13-25 year olds (19%) say they trust the news sources and information that is available to them. Though this percentage is a minority, what makes it more dangerous is that 68% of Gen Z globally uses social media as a news source, even though globally 54% of Gen Z knows that social media is full of fake news according to YPulse. Now that youth consumes news and entertaining content in the same place, it might lead to the idea that news should entertain too. 50% of 12-24 years olds believe that memes are a good way of spreading information. This allows young people to have a voice and makes them believe that using social media is a good way to speak out about issues they care about. Although this also contributes to the blur between entertainment and news, which often becomes part of the cycle of misinformation (Martinez, 2020).
In the Netherlands, disinformation and fake news do not yet have that much influence. Nevertheless, the majority of Dutch people believe that fake news should be easier to recognize. The European Union has made agreements about this with large technology companies such as Google and Facebook (Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties, n.d.). The increasingly negative impacts on society in all EU countries require a coordinated, joint and sustainable approach to counter the problem (Actieplan tegen Desinformatie, 2018).
What is there to do now? For Gen Z it might be easier to recognise fake news, yet you are not completely immune to it. Here are some tips to help you recognise fake news (Redactie Beleef KPN, 2021).
- A terrifying title or frightening fact. This might be clickbait. Clickbait is used to lure people onto a website.
- An intense photo. A blurry photo where you just can’t see who it is. Or an image of a serious accident. The photo accompanying the news item often immediately draws your attention.
- An untrustworthy sender. The sender of fake news on social media is often an unknown source or a news site misspelled.
- The ad does not lead to the article. Since fake news is fake, it is usually not possible to write an entire article about it. If you click on the ad in your timeline, you will not land on the article that was about the news. Instead, you go to a website full of screaming headlines.
- Website is full of ads. Is the website you land on to read the news item full with advertisements? There is a good chance that this website is intended to attract visitors via clickbait and to bring in advertisements with these visitor numbers. Not a reliable source!
- No coverage from other media. Have you discovered an impressive piece of news and do you want to know if it is real? Check with other (renowned) news websites to see if they also talk about this. If it is really true, more media will know about this and will report it too. Can’t find anything about it? I call fake news!
ACTIEPLAN TEGEN DESINFORMATIE. (2018, December 5). EEAS – European Commission. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/56285/node/56285_nl
Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Meaning of fake news in English. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fake-news
Martinez, D (2020, November 24). Gen Z Is Tech-Savvy But Still Susceptible to Misinformation. ViacomCBS Global Insights. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://insights.viacomcbs.com/post/gen-z-is-tech-savvy-but-still-susceptible-to-misinformation/
Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties. (n.d.). Desinformatie en nepnieuws tegengaan. Desinformatie en nepnieuws | Rijksoverheid.nl. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/desinformatie-nepnieuws/aanpak-desinformatie-en-nepnieuws
Redactie Beleef KPN. (2021, March 29). 6 trucs om nepnieuws te herkennen. KPN.com. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://www.kpn.com/beleef/blog/trucs-nepnieuws-herkennen.htm