Technology provides the plumbing that allows fake news to spread but our primal human instincts also play an important role.
In 2016, Oxford Dictionaries selected “post-truth” as the word of the year and defined it as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
A 2016 study found that people tend to seek information that aligns with their existing views.
This tells us that the fake news ecosystem exploits our deepest instincts like our survival instincts and our ego. It appeals to our survival instincts by perpetuating an ‘us and them’ narrative. It appeals to our ego because we don’t like being wrong.
When you combine this with algorithms that are programmed to give us more of the same news that we just consumed, we end up living in a reinforcing echo chamber.
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