EFFECT OF FAKE NEWS ON FACEBOOK ON THE JOURNALISTIC PRACTICE OF LEVEL 400 UNIVERSITY OF BUEA JOURNALISM STUDENT
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This research work focus on the Effects of fake news on Facebook on the Journalistic practice with Case Study of JMC level 400 students. The study aims to investigate the effects of fake news on the journalistic practice of level 400 journalism and Mass communication students in the University of Buea, and to find out ways to curb the spread of fake news on Facebook. Survey method was adopted and the instrument use for data collection was questionnaires. The population under study is approximately 250 students, using Random Sampling Technique the Sample size was 100. 100 questionnaires were distributed and retrieve after data collection, the questionnaires were analyzed and interpreted using tables. The research finds out that fake news on Facebook affect journalism Students as it violates the ethics of the profession and causing chaos in society. In order to curb the spread of fake news on Facebook the study recommended that Censorship should be adopted to eliminate this practice and the verification and Fact-checking of News items should be applied to eliminate the spread of fake news on Facebook. The researcher had some limitation during this study and thus open this study for further research.
Fake news is defined as news articles that are intentionally and verifiable false, and could mislead readers.
“The advent of the internet, the rapid growth of mobile technology and the move towards digital convergence have greatly altered the norms of information researching, gathering, processing and dissemination” Ngange and Tchewo (2017, P.55) Thus fake news with the use of social media platforms such as Facebook by citizen journalists seems to be the order of the day in our society as most articles published on this platform are mostly fake. Thus, this chapter will examine the background that surrounds the phenomenon of Fake news, statement of the problem of fake news, research questions, Hypothesis that will guide the study, objectives to be achieved at the end of the study, the significance of the study, Scope of the study, structure of the study and finally, definition of Concepts.
1.1 Background to the Study
After the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, news (both real and fake) was able to spread faster than ever before. This technology meant books and other documents could be produced much quicker than any writing.
In the mid-1700s, the printing press helped to spread fake news about George 11, who was the King of Great Britain and Ireland at the time. The King was facing a rebellion, and relied on being seen as a strong leader to make sure he rebellion did not succeed.
Fake news about the King being ill was printed from sources on the side of the rebels. It did not take long before these stories were seen by other printers who then republished them. This harmed the King’s public image, and although the rebellion was not successful, showed how fake news can be used to try and change people’s opinions.
The same thing happens today when a fake story is published on purpose to harm someone else. Unfortunately, if it is not fact-checking and gets shared by people or organizations thinking it is true, some of who might have large followings, it starts to be taken seriously and the more it is shared the quicker it spreads-unchecked.
Recent years, there has been an explosion of fake news as false stories are shared widely on social media without being fact-checked. Cheap and portable access to the internet across the globe means stories can spread in a matter of seconds and minutes rather than days or weeks Many of these stories are completely made up and can make money from Advertising, the more clicks a website gets, the more money it makes.
This often leads to clickbait, eye-catching but misleading headlines, designed to get people to click on links. Its purpose can be to generate clicks and advertisement money, but it can also be used to influence public opinion with headlines that appeal to our beliefs. This happened a lot during the 2016 US Presidential election, where fake news about the candidates spread and could have influenced the public on how they voted.
Although fake news has been in human history, nowadays with the advancement in technology and the coming of social media, false information has strong effects on the society than before Nonetheless, the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, for production, distribution and consumption of information has challenged the conceptualization of news Journalism and journalists. (Tandoc, Ling, 2017; Eldridge, 2018b).
The coming of the internet, and the advancement of mobile technology, and the becoming too digital, have great impacted the norms of information researching, gathering, processing and dissemination Ngange and Tchewo (2017, p.55).
In Cameroon, for instance, it was spread in 2017 on Facebook by some citizen journalists who supported the secession struggle in Cameroon that UNESCO had declared it will not recognize school certificates issued that year in the country. (Fannyuy, 2017). This information was dismissed in a press release issued on the 24 February 2017 by the UNESCO national commission in Cameroon (Betatinz, 2017).
According to Ross and Rivers (2017), the circulation of dubious information as we experience it nowadays in our digital media context was known as “Propaganda” in previous media world. Media scholar, Nolan Higton has defined fake news as false or misleading content presented as news and communicated in formats spanning, spoken, written, printed, electronic and digital communication.
1.2 Statement of the Problem.
The 21st century has witnessed a rapid growth in the publication of fake news due to the coming of the new media. Social media platforms like Facebook has affected the traditional way of information dissemination, influenced by citizen journalists who publish unverified information leading to the dramatic increase of fake news on the various social media platforms.
The purpose of this study is to investigate and bring out the effects of fake news on the journalistic practice of Level 400 Journalism and Mass Communication students of the University of Buea.
1.3 Research Questions
The research has one main research question and two other research questions:
1.3.1 Main research question
- What are the effects of fake news on Facebook, on the journalistic practice of level 400 Journalism and Mass Communication students?
1.3.2 Other research questions
- To what extent does fake news on Facebook affect Journalism students?
- How is fake news on Facebook, a challenge to the Journalism profession?
- What can be done to curb the spread of fake news on Facebook?