The consideration of why things like Fake News exists is not one that often crosses into one’s mind. Perhaps some men just want to see the world burn. Maybe people are spreading their political agendas through over-embellished and sometimes outright false narratives. It is true that Fake News headlines are never moderate by nature. But, then again, moderation never earned anyone much attention or clicks.
Clicks. It is the currency of the internet. More clicks generate more exposure which pleases the algorithms and that finally leads to even more clicks. It is the rat race in digital form and so many websites would do anything to obtain those clicks.
Why? Simply put, clicks represent an audience. An audience of people quickly attracts advertisers which seek to get their logo seen by all those people. And Advertisers pay.
This is the deadly cycle that has created Fake News as we know it today. Stories that float around on social media leading to dodgy sites full of pop-ups and even more suspicious headlines.
The companies posting here must be just as shady as the websites, right? Maybe. There are some big brands that have recently been caught red-handed involving themselves in the Fake News cycle like Absa, Coronation, Cell C, Capitec, Mercedes-Benz, Takealot and OUTsurance.
This means that these companies and their willingness to place ads on anything has lead to the rise of the Fake News phenomenon? Not exactly. Some top executives from Capitec and OUTsurance were shocked to find their logos running alongside these lies. They have since promised to follow up on their online marketing and keep a closer eye on their digital associations.
If you have any say over the branding or marketing of your company, make sure you do not run ads promoting and encouraging these liars. It will slowly erode the trust you have worked so hard to instil in your clients if you are associated with such shady websites.
Always be on the lookout for Fake News yourself. Check the source of the article. Are some of the other headlines pretty far-fetched? Do you recognise the news agency? How many other websites are running the same story?