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Fake news is entering a more ruthless and dangerous stage
Joel Kaplan, the Associate Dean for Professional Graduate Studies and Professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, reacts to reports on the fake news proliferating after the deadly Las Vegas shooting.
“For those who believe the notion of fake news is ending because of public awareness of the phenomenon, think again. Fake news is entering a more ruthless, dangerous stage. Need proof? Just look at what happened following the Las Vegas shooting massacre,” says Kaplan.
“Across social media, a number of fake news purveyors were out with a steady stream of false reports and concocted conspiracy theories. The result was that people learned that the shooter was a left-wing supporter of Bernie Sanders or an ISIS supporter and stooge. No members of the so-called mainstream media fell for these hoaxes, but that no longer matters because these news stories were picked up and given the imprimatur of such giant media outlets as Facebook and Google,” says Kaplan.
“And these are not innocent little social media pranks. When people are falsely accused of heinous crimes, bad things can happen to them. And again, need proof? Just ask the owners of Comet Ping Pong restaurant in Washington, D.C.,” says Kaplan. “As purveyors of fake news become more and more sophisticated and are able to co-opt the screens of search engines and social media, the dangers to the public will only increase.”
Prof. Kaplan is available to speak to media. Please contact Ellen James Mbuqe, director of news and PR at Syracuse University, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315.443.1897 or Keith Kobland, media manager at Syracuse University, at email@example.com or 315.443.9038.