In a recent blog post, I wrote about The Internet is Boring. That post was more about the hardware that makes up the internet and not so much about the content. But the fact is, internet content is generally boring. As more people are stuck in front of a computer at work, home and just about everywhere, people are becoming bored.
While the masses are bored surfing the internet looking at kitty pictures, there are chefs cooking up something new. The new spicy dish online is fake news. We are all chefs cooking up something on the internet highway. Some of us cook in our own kitchens, while others cook at work. If you are on the internet, you are either tasting the soup or mixing the pot.
Fake news really is the spicy dish in an otherwise boring internet soup of content. This news isn’t just propaganda. It’s become so much more now. It’s an entire entertainment industry. The real chef isn’t the average person. The chef of fake news is a group of people hammering out the next story and nurturing that story along. Like the movie industry, it takes a level of imagination, writing, production and distribution to really make fake stories viral.
In the beginning, we were told fake news was generated by a few rouge actors. This cottage industry was a fluke or possibly a flash in the pan. After the 2016 election in the United States, the industry exploded. Fake news graduated from a few chefs cranking out soup at home to a full-blown McDonald’s style franchise with over 1 billion served.
Freedom and power normally come with responsibility. Responsibility is normally managed by accountability. The internet trashed those basic rules years ago. Fake stories come with no responsibility or accountability. Sure, these stories are spicy and in the right hands they are a feast for the eyes. However, like most deserts, once you’ve eaten too much they will make you fat, slow and stupid.
The chef of these stories work very hard at keeping a level of anonymity. If a chef were to take credit, that would evoke accountability which would lead to responsibility. Many of these stories are designed to manage perception of an event, place or person. That’s why they work so well for foreign governments using them as propaganda.
People want entertainment. They want a show. These fake news stories bend the truth for entertainment and other nefarious reasons. It’s been said there is always truth in humor. The same can be said about Fake news stories. The foundation might be truth, but the story is always a lie.