Fake News on Social Media--Who Consume It and Why: Bangladesh Perspective

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Farzana Karim


Today, ‘fake news’ is much more than a label for false and misleading information disguised and disseminated as news. It has become a weaponized term used to undermine and discredit journalism. Recently, social networks especially Facebook has become more popular and more comfortable platform for spreading fake news in Bangladesh. According to BTRC's report of November 2017, there are 30 million Facebook users in Bangladesh. So, Facebook has become an easy tool to spread any information with extreme good or bad opinions within a short time. Now a click is both an opportunity and a threat. Fueled by ICT, in recent years, fake news has become a significant concern in Bangladesh. This study aimed to explore the weaponization of information on an unprecedented scale and the power of new technologies provided for the manipulation and fabrication of content peddled by Facebook users. The acts of harassment peddled by fake news spread on Facebook have been increased exponentially from 2012. And by the year 2017, Bangladesh has experienced and combated the bad situation fueled by fake news posts on Facebook. The incidents which took place during these years have drawn the attention to continue this study to find out the consumers of fake news and determine its impact on our mainstream media. Furthermore, this study attempted to identify whether the audience depends on the mainstream media to collect authentic information after the dispersion of fake news. This study used a mixed-method, both quantitative and qualitative approaches, for conducting the research. The quantitative approach was designed with a cross-sectional survey among Facebook users and content analysis. Besides, case study under the qualitative approach provided more profound elucidation.

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