Perth, Western Australia: For the past several weeks, the city of Perth has been under a blanket of anti-fake news hysteria, with residents and business owners worried about the spread of misinformation, a threat to the integrity of democracy, and a perception that the city is overrun with fake news.
The problem is, the media is wrong.
The issue has been described as “fake news”, by journalists and social media commentators, who have argued that the term is misleading, mischaracterised and misconstrued by people who don’t understand the issues at hand.
“This is not a political issue, this is a media issue,” says the Australian newspaper’s chief political correspondent, Stephen Quinn.
“The issue is that misinformation is being spread by those in the news media, in the mainstream media, and the social media community.”
What is fake news?
A misleading headline A story that contains information that is false, misleading or misleading in any way.
The term was coined by the US economist Milton Friedman, who coined the term in 1980 to describe the phenomenon of news that is widely false and misleading.
The word itself is derived from the Latin word meaning “false” or “unfounded” and refers to the falsity of information, as opposed to the truth.
In its own words: “Fake news is the propagation of falsehoods or false information in order to promote or defend an agenda.
The aim of fake news is to distort, mislead or misinform the public.”
There is a debate in the media over the term’s definition.
For some, it is simply misleading or sensationalist in nature, while for others, it conveys a false or misleading message.
A recent article in the Australian published by the News Corp newspaper claimed that the “fake-news problem” was a media problem and not a problem with the political or media system.
But this was only the first of several articles, which have also argued that fake news has been spreading for decades.
“In fact, fake news spread by the likes of the Guardian, ABC, The Drum and others has been around for a long time,” Quinn wrote.
“It’s not just the Guardian and The Drum, but the entire media, with the exception of the ABC.”
The term is also often used by those who are concerned about political bias.
“The idea that fake-news is a threat or a danger to the country, or that we’re being overrun by misinformation is a myth,” Australian Labor Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said in February.
“Fake-news has been a very, very real threat to our democracy for decades, for decades.”
A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that when fake news was considered as a whole, it “caused a greater degree of harm than any other source of news content”.
But it was also found that the spread was more concentrated in some regions of the country.
For example, in Sydney, the study found that fake articles on the ABC News website were found to be shared more frequently in metropolitan areas than in suburbs.
In Queensland, it was the ABC’s ABC News24 that was most spread in suburban areas.
The findings were echoed in a study conducted by the ABC in the state of Victoria.
It found that news on the internet was more common in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, while the national average was more spread in Perth and Adelaide.
“What we find is that it’s spread from one city to another and people who live in those cities are also the ones who have the greatest access to the information,” said the ABC study’s lead researcher, Professor James Wainwright.
The ABC said it would work with its partners to develop a strategy to tackle misinformation.
In Western Australia, which has been experiencing a rise in anti-social media and fake news stories, a number of politicians have been using social media platforms to address the problem.
In March, for example, a WA State Government committee recommended that businesses with fake content be prohibited from advertising on social media.
“We have had a significant amount of fake stories in our local area in the past year,” Premier Colin Barnett said at the time.
“And so we have been looking at how we can address it.
We’ve been looking to find out how we’re going to get more people on to the internet, to get people more information about local issues.”
The Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, is also using social platforms to target misinformation.
On the day of the state election in March, she announced that her Department of Communications would be setting up a taskforce to tackle the issue.
She said: “There is no doubt there is misinformation circulating online, and misinformation that is spreading around the world.”
“We will work with our businesses, our government, our social media and the internet communities to ensure that we ensure that information that may be perceived as incorrect is not disseminated and people get the truth.”