09 March 2018
A government poll last year found that 75 per cent of respondents had read fake news at least occasionally, and 25 per cent had shared information they later discovered to be false.
And fake news can be created not only by individuals but also by groups, companies, even foreign governments.
Mr Benjamin Ang, who heads the Cyber and Homeland Defence Programme at the Nanyang Technological University, said a country can use fake news to drive a wedge between the different races, religions or economic classes of another country, destabilising it.
Between 2015 and last year, 126 million American Facebook users were said to have been exposed to more than 80,000 posts from 470 accounts reportedly controlled by a foreign country that wanted to meddle in the United States Presidential Election.
Even fake news of a stock market crash could be almost as bad as an actual crash, said Mr Ang, as the misinformation could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“News of a bank running out of money is almost as bad as the bank actually running out of money because it could make it happen when people panic and they … make a run on the bank,” he added.
CENS / Online
Last updated on 12/03/2018