False News on the Web Has Become a Danger to Human Life - Opinion Essay Example

2021-06-16 19:46:42
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967 words
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Harvey Mudd College
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Essay
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Yes, I think that false news on the web has become a danger to human life. False news has been with us for a very long time and in the long history of misinformation, the ongoing outbreak of fake news has been increasingly putting the lives of people at risk. You know things have gone too far when the U.S president's personal adviser, Kellyanne Conway, going to the extent of inventing a Kentucky massacre so as to defend a ban on travelers from the seven Muslim countries.

It is very clear that so-called fake news has the potential of having real world consequences and putting lives of people at risk. It is no longer about politics or partisanship, real lives are at risk and it is a danger that needs to be addressed, and addressed as soon as possible.

An example of the potential danger fake news on the web has to humans is like the case of Whoopi Goldberg where there was a news story that made false claims about her putting her life in danger. On the 1st of March, a conservative website falsely reported that Goldberg had said that the widow of fallen Navy SEAL William Owens was merely seeking attention. The story led to her and the members of her family to be targeted in harassments. CITATION Zeb17 \l 1033 (Blay, 2017)Another example is the 'Pizzagate' incident where a gunman Edgar Maddison Welch conducted an armed confrontation at the Comet Ping Pong restaurant in Washington, D.C. after he was motivated by online rumors. Armed with an assault rifle, the man stormed into the restaurant which had been falsely reported to having housed a pedophile ring. CITATION Fel16 \l 1033 (Garcia, 2016)There have been increased worries over the unrelenting surge of fake news as well as malicious gossip over the web. Of course, we should know better than to trust everyone as studies show that even young children get to learn who they can rely on for information as they pay less attention to people who have once given them wrong information and more attention to people whose information has been credible as well as valuable. And as adults, we also come to learn that there are some people in the world whose statements should be discounted. However, it is our capacity to learn from other people that make the prevalence of fake news to be so dangerous. CITATION Nsi16 \l 1033 (Akpan, 2016)Much fake news on the web serves to elicit an emotional response to make the reader angry or upset. It is this ill feeling that then affects the way people interpret other actions by the person mentioned which can provide further justification for the negative feelings and reaction that was initially engendered by a false story.

According to research on the continued influence, once a falsified story gets in your head, it keeps on affecting a persons beliefs and actions, even long after they have discovered it was false. The brain does not have a mechanism that enables a person to simply erase a story they hear. Instead, this fake story will be automatically recalled whenever one is thinking about other things that is related to it.

Take this story for example where it was said that Texas Town Quarantined After Family Of Five Test Positive For The Ebola Virus This fake news culminated people into irrational fears of the Ebola virus in the U.S. driving web interest in this fake news and despite being known to be fake the American news machine brought about its share of media casualties during this Ebola crisis putting the life of innocent people in danger. CITATION Nsi16 \l 1033 (Akpan, 2016)One example is that of Kaci Hickox, who was a Doctors Without Borders nurse who had volunteered to treat people in West Africa. She was said to have contracted the virus and even after being subjected to tests which all came out negative she and her boyfriend were subjected to harassment from the public. Hickox received rumors from the police department that there were physical threats against her, while her boyfriend dropped out of nursing school after pressures to not live with her. CITATION Nsi16 \l 1033 (Akpan, 2016)The web is full of satires and the problem is that these days, trouble arises from people not being able to recognize the irony in this online satire. An example of this is the constant, relentless stories of Muslim migrants being terrorists. This has put the Muslim migrants in danger as they are refused entry, mixed and persecuted in countries such as Germany and some parts of the US. Reiterating what Hickox said, people need always to be questioning whether not they are getting part of a story, and measure its credibility. Making snap judgments which lead to fear and discrimination against and individual or group of people is not the right way, and will not get us anywhere. CITATION Nsi16 \l 1033 (Akpan, 2016)The people mainly affected by this false news on the web are mainly those from first world countries and it comes as a relief for Facebook and Google to help curb this vice which will help protect the lives of many humans. CITATION Ter17 \l 1033 (Padwell, 2017)References

BIBLIOGRAPHY Akpan, N. (2016, December 5). The very real consequences of fake news stories and why yourbrain can't ignore them. Retrieved March 25, 2017, from PBS NEWSHOUR: http:/www.pbs.org

Blay, Z. (2017, March 17). Whoopi Goldberg says 'fake news' story put her life in danger. Retrieved March 25, 2017, from HUFFPOST: http:.www.huffpost.com

Garcia, F. (2016, December 8). Hillary Clinton says the fake news is a dangerous epidemic that putslives at risk. Retrieved March 25, 2017, from INDEPENDENT: http://www.independent.co.uk

Padwell, T. (2017, January 24). Google, Facebook to roll out tools to combat fake news in Canada. Retrieved March 25, 2017, from THE GLOBE AND MAIL: http://www.beta.theglobenadmail.com

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