Fri, Jul 13, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Building a nation that is free from fake news

By Chen Kuan-fu 陳冠甫

There have been reports about an oversupply of bananas, pineapples and dragon fruit — which will soon be in season — and collapsing prices. Pictures of bananas and pineapples being dumped have also appeared online. However, a closer look reveals that many of these photographs are either from China, or simply fake.

Spreading fake news about a price collapse could affect consumers’ choices, or even mislead them to think that they are being overcharged. Such fake news affects trading and hurts farmers’ incomes.

Some people are clearly trying to use rumormongering to sabotage the government’s credibility.

Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) has said that the term “fake news” should be replaced by “false information.”

There is no complete definition of “fake news,” but the key is that it is the sharing of information that you know to be untrue.

A lot of online content just comes from people speculating about their experiences. For example, a large portion of the news on PTT — Taiwan’s largest online bulletin board — lacks logical reasoning and judgement.

Internet users often take such information seriously and journalists like to report it as news, which leaves room for manipulation by the “cyberarmy.”

Releasing the results of fake opinion polls is another political trick, especially spreading false results through Chinese-funded media outlets to change the outcome of an