Fake news in Catholic media

Chloe Anne Porter, Club Writer

When it comes to reading an article about what kind of pizza you are, or about the recent election and its candidates, we have all fallen victim to fake news. Fake news can be defined as a writer publishing something that is inaccurate or simply, “fake.”

When looking at news on popular websites like Twitter, or Buzzfeed, it attracts the attention of younger people to watch funny videos of a cat singing the national anthem side by side with an article of more serious content. Recently, fake news has been buzzing around online causing serious drama in the Vatican.

A fake interview with Pope Francis was put on the cover of the Vatican’s newspaper, discussing his views about divorced and remarried Catholics, according to NBC News. While you read the fake interview, it also says that the Pope has certain political views that are inaccurate and can influence other people on their opinion of the Catholic Church. Fake posters were hung making it seem as if the Pope doesn’t care about the issues that are in the Vatican and that he doesn’t care for the people in religious orders. Police are looking into who is behind this but according to NBC news, an anonymous commenter from the Vatican said, “It was not done in bad taste. It’s quite funny, actually. We are not worried.”

How can we stop fake news? After Facebook was deeply criticized for allowing fake news to be published during the election, the International Fact Checking Network is now enlisted allowing views to flag an article if it appears false. Another is a web extension that you can place on your computer, when you open a website a pop-up will appear warning you that this is not a reliable website.

Who is trying to stop this? There really is not an official media outlet trying to correct false information. If someone tried to do that, they would probably never stop working. Fake news is being posted all the time, however, websites like Facebook and Buzzfeed are trying to reduce the amount of fake news that is being allowed to be published online. It is important to comment or report an article that you see that is clearly written by someone who is trying to spread fake news or send out the wrong message, in doing this you can prevent someone else from being a victim of fake news.

As the world turns digital daily it is important that people are getting the right news from the right sources. Thirty years ago, the only source of news you could find was from the newspaper and a broadcasting station. Nowadays, people depend on the internet for their source of international relations, especially religious ones. When you are online researching something or someone, make sure that you try to use a brand-name journalism website like BBC or NBC News, this will ensure that your facts are correct and reliable.