Why Are We So Easily Fooled with Fake News?

Ease of access to the internet and social media pulls down all the boundaries between knowledge and news but there are also many fake news and stories that are contagious on social media. Although we always say to the public ‘don’t spread fake news but we still do it, why? Here are 6 reasons why we keep doing it

  1. Bias validation

Bias validation refers to the selection of information that tends to lean toward our existing beliefs. Regardless of this biased topic in our thinking, we are more likely to fall for fake news if we agree with what is being said.

This works in other ways as well; indeed, one-sided statements will produce the opposite effect, enhanced skepticism, for fake news stories that we don’t like. While there is biased information in some contexts that you disagree with, there are still those who believe it blindly indicates a lack of critical thinking.

  1. Lack of credibility assessment

We read news to inform ourselves, generally because we are not there to witness events unfold live. As a result, we believe the news and information given to us is in fact, true. In doing so, we place faith in the credibility of the source but we cannot blindly do so. We must first evaluate it.

Such an assessment involves digging deeper into the article and evaluating the source of the claim, looking for evidence and not just opinions, anecdotal support, or statements of general belief. Look for replications of other news of the same topic and evaluate the credentials of the author, publisher, and / or website to verify the credibility of the news. While various steps are listed to complete a news evaluation, people may not have the skills and abilities to apply such higher orderly thinking and logic.

  1. Want attention and impatience

We assume that the topic in question is important to you and you have the skills to assess credibility, you are still exposed to modern trends in information processing, not to mention other psychological factors presented in this section.

We want information to be given quickly and accurate because we are ready to get all the news at our fingertips in this modern age. Not to say quick and efficient access to information is a bad thing, if you want information on the latest and current events, you need to get it from official coverage in newspapers, radio, or nightly news on television. Nowadays, we can only type a few letters into our phones and whatever we want, from a variety of sources of uncertainty.

There is also fake news designed by blogs or gossip sites to get higher traffic or as a marketing tactic, but ‘headlines’ and pictures that can make you feel challenged, often make us believe the news and share the information with the public.

  1. Cognitively lazy

Many people choose to be lazy without realizing it by themselves. Our brains have evolved to conserve energy for “more important tasks” and therefore, they are not so much like expending energy when intuitive decisions can be made that are good enough.

Is our belief in random news stories really important in our daily lives? Perhaps, maybe but the great rarity it may not be, then we fail to take a reflective assessment and evaluation. Instead, we do simple information processing ways that produce conclusions that are not necessarily accurate, such as choosing to trust fake news reports.

In today’s world, it can be said that we have too much information. We don’t read everything in our social media newsfeeds. We ignore articles that are not important or uninteresting, we don’t pay attention to them. Sometimes, we barely read the headlines. If we manage to read the headline, that’s probably all we read and then make our own assumptions.

  1. Our emotions are targeted

One of the biggest barriers to critical thinking is the emotions that cause irrational thinking. When a person thinks with their emotions, they think based on intuitive reasoning, driven by open feelings and past experiences associated with feelings — as opposed to reflective, critical thinking.

Fake news like propaganda and pictures that are edited too can evoke and breed emotions like fear and anger in the reader or listener. If your emotions are turbulent, you are not thinking rationally and are more vulnerable to receiving fake news. Some news also plays on such sensitive sentiments that will anger certain beliefs.

  1. Social pressure

The last reason why people fall for fake news is social pressure and image retention on social media. When you write about something that someone might not like, they may not be friends with you, if it’s something they don’t like, they may report you. On the other hand, the more attention you get through ‘posts’ you make from friends, followers, likes, views or clicks, the more influence you have and your value.

Politics and social perspectives are not wrong or objectively right. It’s just based on beliefs about how things should be done. Therefore, if your education or occupation that you practice takes place in such a biased environment, there will certainly be some level of social stress consistent with that view.

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Always think back of your posting. How many people or organizations submit information with which you disagree? Maybe you’re like me and enjoy a good debate; but for the most part, you can block, hide, or even silence or unite individuals with different views. In the end of the day, the best is to always fact check and share news from reliable sources.