‘Fake News’ is Everywhere.

The internet has enabled a whole new way to publish, share and consume information. It has allowed the introduction of thousands of different media websites and social media pages. A lot of the news we consume online, mainly in our social media feeds, is not true, a lot of it is fake news. Fake news is news, stories or hoaxes created to deliberately misinform or deceive readers.

The term ‘Fake News’ was established by a media editor at ‘Buzzfeed’, Craig Silverman, during mid-2016. Silverman began noticing dozens of completely made up stories that seemed to originate from one small Eastern European town.

They proceeded to investigate more fake news stories and ended up identifying at least 140 fake news stories, which were pulling huge numbers on Facebook.

In October 2017, a publisher of a blog site name ‘FreedomJunkshun’, released an article titled “BREAKING: Black Soldier Killed in Niger Was A Deserter”, The story was accusing US soldier (David Johnson) of fleeing battle during an ISIS ambush, the article also stated that “Mr Johnson was not the perfect soldier that his mother wants us to believe”. This being Fake News, the real story is that four US soldiers, including Johnson were ambushed by ISIS, Johnson fled to seek cover and himself and the three other Soldiers were all killed in battle.

The Department of defense immediately contradicted the Fake news story and the publisher later apologized for disrespecting a deceased soldier. There was no legal action taken on this story. The unethical motive behind this story was to pander racists.

The reasoning for a lot of fake news stories is to gain attention and traffic to news’ websites through having click-bait titles that give people the urge to click and read the story. Another reason for fake news stories is to push an idea or belief. Fake news gained huge recognition during the time of the 2016 presidential election, where there were thousands of stories which were published to deter people from voting for the person that wasn’t liked by the publishers. Fake news is suggested to be a huge influence for the outcome of the election, here are some examples of fake news stories written about the electorates:

“Hillary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS and it was confirmed by Wiki-leaks”, “Trump mocks Trudeau for celebrating thanksgiving six weeks early”, “Pope Francis endorses Trump for President”.

Fake news is a trend that is almost impossible to stop. When viewing news on social media especially, we should always check to see if the facts in the story are actually true. We can do this by googling the story and see if other reputable news websites have posted about that story and whether all the sources are providing the same information.

There is always a motive behind fake news stories, and a lot of time people are easy to believe everything they read, we as consumers should always research details of news before we create our own opinion.

A Night In Belanglo

The year was 1976, Paul, his father and his uncle Michael would often go hunting in Belanglo State Forest to mainly hunt rabbits. Paul was aged 13 at the time.

Belanglo State Forest is a planted forest, of mainly pine but some native forestry around the edges in New South Wales; its total area is about 3,800 hectares. Paul, his dad and his uncle arrived at Belanglo Forest during the winter of 76, where they drove around in their EH Holden trying to expose animals in the night time, their hunt ended in the early hours of the morning and they slept in Belanglo, in their car.

Paul was startled awake by the sound of footsteps outside their car, as the fog and the ice blocked his vision of outside the window he wasn’t sure what to do. At first he thought it might have been an animal, but he kept hearing it pace around the car, Paul being only young was in shock and was thinking the worst, that there was a person outside their car. He closed his eyes. His suspicions were confirmed when he saw a dark shadow of a human trying to peer through the driver’s window, Paul in shock and in disbelief that what he was actually seeing was real, went back to sleep. When he woke, his uncle had driven himself and his dad to Goulburn. Michael stated “I heard footsteps and saw a human shadow outside of the car, and when I couldn’t hear them anymore I quickly drove out of the forest and to Goulburn.”

Belanglo Forest today is infamously known for the missing backpackers and the Ivan Milat killings that occurred throughout the 80s and 90s. As this event occurred prior to these killings it is unlikely, but not impossible that a serial killer was outside their car, but Paul and his uncle can’t figure out who it could have be, if it was a farmer who lived nearby, why didn’t he use a flashlight? and why were there no sounds of a car? The answer is unknown, and the memory has haunted Paul throughout his life.